Our personal finances are one of the last great taboos, but while employment is at a record high in Britain, more and more working households are privately struggling to make ends meet. In this series, families from across the UK reveal what it really means to be in work, but still only 'just about managing'.
With the cost of living rising and one third of British workers receiving a pay rise of less than 1% last year, Broke follows nine families during a critical year as their financial future hangs in the balance.
Lorraine is an intensive care nurse for the NHS in Manchester. She hasn’t had a pay rise in eight years and is working on the front line of NHS cuts. With inflation and the rising cost of living, she earns thousands of pounds less after tax than in 2010. Lorraine was on duty on the night of the Manchester bombings and continues to feel the emotional strain to this day. After getting divorced, her home was almost repossessed. Financial pressures continue to affect family life and her relationship.
After the reduction of public bus services, Eryl was forced to leave her family and beloved hometown of Penygroes in Wales, to find work in Liverpool. She earns the National Living Wage but her zero hour contract means that she doesn’t know how much she will take home each week. She often has very little money left after paying her mortgage in Wales and rent in Liverpool. She forages for foliage on roundabouts to make Christmas wreaths to earn a little extra money and avoid getting into debt.
Kevin from North Ayrshire works over 100 hours a week and manages four businesses. The area is one of the poorest places in the UK and the unemployment rate here is twice the national average. He offers budget funeral services, cut-price MOTs, taxi services and also runs a local café. The self-confessed workaholic also delivers takeaways at night to save for his son’s long term future. However, all this work comes at a huge cost. Kevin rarely has time to spend with his son and girlfriend that he works so hard to support.
Bukola is a care worker living in Cambridge after migrating from Nigeria 20 years ago. She also studies social care at college to improve her qualifications and set a good example for her daughter Venus. She often works unsociable hours and doesn’t earn enough to cover the costs of child care. Bukola dreams that her hard work will pay off and that her daughter will have a better life. However, her application for permanent residence in the UK, threatens her ability to earn enough money to care for her daughter. Show less