Edwina Currie should be hanging her head in shame today.
It was with shock that I listened to the narrow minded comments and judgements made by former MP Edwina Curry on Radio 5 Live this morning. Edwina brandished her unfounded criticisms onto a financially exhausted young mother whose situation has become so desperate that she and her, husband regularly go without meals in order to ensure that their children can eat.
24 year old Hayley Sanderson was reduced to tears as Edwina suggested she had ‘lived life to the full’ and this had resulted in her current indebted position. Through this Edwina only demonstrated her stereotypical belief of indebted people and exposed the unfair stigma people like Hayley face.
For anyone who has read my previous blogs or heard me on the radio, my financial past has granted me a great deal of empathy for anyone in the position Hayley has found herself in; I know from personal experience how quickly unexpected hardships can spiral out of control. I am therefore appalled that Edwina Currie could feel comfortable or even fair making such judgements when Hayley went on to say her life had taken a dramatic downwards turn when her husband lost his job whilst she was pregnant.
For me my husband was made redundant when my daughter was just two weeks old; I was only on statutory maternity pay and we had no redundancy cover on our mortgage. Like many people not expecting to be hit by the recession, we had budgeted our life accordingly to the income we jointly earned. I made the decision to go back to work when my daughter was just six weeks old to ensure we had one salary coming in – we had no other options. Despite the cut backs we made, we used our savings to cover the costs my salary didn’t cover. We worked to a strict budget and once we’d hit our limit, we’d eat what was left in the cupboards or nothing at all.
We didn’t buy new clothes, we sold what we could on eBay and at car boot sales – we struggled but we did our best.
My husband thankfully found a job five months later but we still watch every penny which comes in and goes out…and we have an extra £800 per month to budget for as our daughter is in full time child care. We still forego many pleasures we once enjoyed such as holidays; we don’t have credit cards and we rarely go out for a meal without a voucher!
We have however come through the other side of what was a very stressful and difficult time. It only makes me question Edwina’s snap judgement – do you really know your facts and are you really in touch with the reality of how people get into financial strain or debt? Because if the answer is no, as it appears to be, then why were you commenting or questioning Hayley’s call so judgementally?
Some of the most common reasons for people being in debt in the current economic climate are redundancy, separation, divorce, pregnancy, illness and family bereavement, not “a life lived to the full” as suggested by Edwina.
By judging others you can often make assumptions without all the facts and I personally believe unless you or I have gone through exactly what someone else has gone through in their path to debt and their courage to get out of it, then we have no right to judge- it doesn’t help them, and it didn’t help you Edwina – it just makes you look ignorant.
Hayley had called into the radio show, not to be judged but for help, understanding and most likely, inspiration for a way out of her financial worries.
I have now been with ClearDebt three and a half years and I’m proud with what we do here. Each day we are able to change people’s lives for the better and give them hope and relief. I use my own experience as a way of connecting with our clients and making sure we not only provide advice and solutions to people in debt but that we provide support and useful information which can help them on their journey to a debt free future.
Our clients review us on independent websites like ReviewCentre.com and Trustpilot and constantly refer to the fact they feel “comfortable”, “relieved” and “un judged” by the team they speak to. Until a similar review could be written about Edwina and her judgements, I suggest she re-evaluates her approach to speaking with people in debt, or refrain from participating in the conversation at all.