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A terminally ill mum says her two young daughters are being “robbed” of precious memories with her because she can’t afford to tick off her bucket list due to huge energy bills.

Tammy Prescott, 43, had to stop working after she was diagnosed with stomach cancer in September 2021 and given six months to live.

Now, after 11 gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, instead of making memories with her husband, Lintyn, 55 and children, Sadie 12 and Poppy, 10, they are struggling to make ends meet, forcing them to be housebound.

Her chef husband now works up to 60 hours a week to help pay their bills and has no free time or money to complete the modest list of transforming the garden, having a holiday, booking a family Christmas experience, and enjoying days out at the seaside.

Tammy, who has been forced to give up her beloved job as a children’s nursery manager because she is so sick, said: “It kills him that he can’t spend more time with me. My husband works every hour god sends him, bless him.

“I have to try and not think about it otherwise I’d spend every day crying.

“This is the time you’re supposed to be making special memories, doing things, ticking off things on your bucket list.

“But we can’t afford to do that, we just stay at home now. I have to keep the heating on because I get so cold and it goes into my bones.”

Labour is pledging to freeze the energy price cap at its current £1,971 until the end of March next year.

Next year bills could top £5,000 leaving families living in fear and Keir Starmer describing it as a “national emergency”.

Tammy, agrees and said: “It’s madness, they keep adding and adding and adding. The energy prices are ridiculous.

“It’s just gone up to £200 a month for electric and gas and that’s just the summer months.”

Tammy would love to go on days out with her two girls as “it’s scary for them and they know it’s coming”.

“Every cough and sniffle they are on it,” she explained.

“It would be wonderful to go on the go-karts with them, or to the seaside and jump in a car and go somewhere but you can’t because of the petrol cost.”

Tammy, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, gets PIP and a support allowance, but it doesn’t cover what she used to earn when working, which was around £1,300.

Her husband brings home a basic wage of £1,200 a month and Tammy now gets about £1,000 benefits but she says: “All this goes on bills. There’s no wriggle room.”

Every month they have to find at least £200 for energy, around £500 for food, £600 for rent, phone bills of £65, water and council tax around £200, petrol at least £200 a month, and £120 for school meals for the children.

Even Tammy’s simple dreams are unmanageable for the family as every spare penny is eaten up with trips to the hospital, school uniforms, and extra expenses connected with her condition.

As a result of chemotherapy Tammy’s feet feel numb and she can only wear certain shoes and walk for a limited amount of time.

Tammy would love to transform their “shrubland” garden with some paving slabs so she can sit outside watching the kids play in a paddling pool or a Christmas experience for the family who are “mad” about the festive season.

“These bills are robbing them of being able to have happy times and creating happy memories and relaxing times with their mum,” Tammy said.

“It’s affecting even the basic things like having better cuts of meat. They want you to eat healthy but you can’t because we’re having to buy more affordable things.

“It can be a nightmare trying to work out where you can take money from to pay the bills.”

The desperate mum is calling on the Government to allow those with a terminal illness to access their state pension earlier – a campaign being put forward by end-of-life charity Marie Curie.

“I’ve been working since I was 14, always paying into the system,” she said.

“I am never going to reach the age where I am going to be able to access it. It’s not about me, it’s about my family and how they will be able to support themselves going forward.

“I know towards the end of my illness, my husband is going to have to massively reduce his hours or stop working and be a single parent altogether.”

Marie Curie’s ‘Dying in Poverty campaign’ is calling on the UK Government to grant working age people early access to their State Pension if they have a terminal illness.

The charity is also calling for greater support with energy costs to be made available to all terminally ill people, regardless of their age, and for more support with the costs of childcare for terminally ill parents with young children.

So far they have 80,000 signatures for their petition demanding action, which will be handed into the new PM in their first week.

Mark Jackson, Marie Curie Policy Manager, said: “The current working age benefits system is failing terminally ill people like Tammy.

“There are considerable added costs that come from living with a terminal illness. In some cases, up to £16,000 a year, and that’s based on research from 2019, pre pandemic and pre cost-of-living crisis.

“More often than not, people who are still working when they are diagnosed with a terminal illness have to reduce or give up work entirely.

“Combine this with higher energy bills, paying for home adaptations, care and travel to regular appointments, it is not surprising that many people in this group are experiencing financial hardship.”

He is urging the public to sign their petition calling on the UK Government to grant working age people early access to their State Pension if they have a terminal illness, “because nobody should die in poverty.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Approaching the end of your life is an unimaginable challenge and our priority is providing people with financial support quickly and compassionately. Those nearing the end of their lives can get fast-track access to a range of benefits without needing a face-to-face assessment or waiting period, with the majority of individuals receiving the highest rate of those benefits.

“Earlier this year we extended that support for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit and we are making similar changes to Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance, meaning thousands more people at the end of life will be able to access these benefits earlier.

“In addition, we recognise people are struggling with rising prices which is why we are protecting millions of the most vulnerable families with at least £1,200 of direct payments, starting with the £326 cost of living payment, which has already been issued to more than seven million low income households. Vulnerable families in England are also being supported by the Government’s Household Support Fund – which was boosted by £500million – to help pay for essentials.”

Energy emergency – Tammy’s monthly bills
*approx

INCOMINGS

Lintyn’s wage: £1,200*

Tammy’s benefits: £1,000*

Total: £2,200*

OUTGOINGS

Energy: £200

Food: £500

Rent: £600

Phone: £65

Water/Council tax: £200+

Petrol: £200

School meals: £120

LEAVES £300**

** has to cover miscellaneous monthly items including clothing, extra medication, toiletries and insurance policies.