Mum lived on toast to feed her four children after benefits were slashed

Cassie McTaggart with her five-month-old daughter, Anaiyah [Image: Derby Telegraph].

This is utterly shameful. The Tories are endangering children in their eagerness to grab all the cash and resources in the UK.

A single mum-of-four was forced to live on on toast for a month so she could afford to feed her kids after her benefits were abruptly slashed.

Cassie McTaggart stopped receiving Healthy Start vouchers – intended for the poorest benefit claimants to buy milk, baby formula, fruit and vegetables – without warning in September this year.

As a result, Cassie sacrificed her own food and lived on a single loaf of bread a week for a whole month to ensure she could provide for her six-month-old daughter and three young boys, aged five, seven and eight.

Her vouchers were reinstated the following month, but the 31-year-old fears she will have to go through a similar experience when she switches to controversial Universal Credit.

Source: Single mum-of-four living on toast so she can afford to feed her children after benefit slashed

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18 thoughts on “Mum lived on toast to feed her four children after benefits were slashed


    Please don’t take this as trolling but why does this mother have four small children with none of the fathers in sight? Why did she have another baby when she already has three children under the age of ten? No, it isn’t the children’s fault and they have to be supported but unthinking behaviour like this is part of the reason single mothers have been effectively demonised by the press and a large section of the public.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Like you, for example?
      The dad – or dads – are none of our business. They aren’t around and we don’t know the reason. If it was relevant, we would.
      Some people are unlucky in their choices.
      You have no reason to say the mother is “unthinking” because you simply don’t know her circumstances.
      Try to be a little less judgemental in the future.

      1. BELINDA

        Oh dear. My views on this mother do not entirely accord with yours. I question her judgement and will continue to do so. The point I was trying to make is that so will a large number of other people. We all make judgements about a great many things – you make judgements about many people and their actions in this blog. I don’t get the same rights as you? Well you had better block me. Dissenting opinions not allowed!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        The difference is, I base my judgements on evidence. Yours seem to be based on assumption and prejudice.
        And who said dissenting opinions aren’t allowed here? I let Barry Davies bang on about Brexit.

    2. the ramblings of a deluded mind

      lets see .. reasons for fathers not being present .. who says it is plural and not 1 father? do we count possible death as no reason to stop having contact? there are a number of reasons not mentioned there but they are not covered and thus as mike says .. they, or he, are, or is, not in the picture.


    I read a great many political blogs, both right and left wing. I read this one as I agree with most of what you write. The thing that I find most amazing – and this applies to writing and comments from both ends of the political spectrum – is that almost no dissenting views are allowed and are typically shouted down. With political views it seems to be all or nothing. I think this mother was irresponsible to have another baby with no visible means of support from the fathers (and I don’t just mean financially) but I also deplore the actions of this government in withdrawing support from single mothers, especially to the extent that they have. Forcing mothers to look for work when their child is one is dreadful. My views are not black and white.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      But you don’t know what this mother’s situation was. You are making unfounded assumptions about the circumstances in which another person had children. You know dissenting views are allowed, but you must be able to provide an argument that will stand up, if you expect to be taken seriously. You are suggesting that dissent isn’t tolerated to hide the fact that you have no evidence to support your assertion. I’m glad to see your supportive words for single mothers, but I wonder who would qualify for that support, if you are willing to imagine a reason to criticise the mum in this situation.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      A contextless comment that doesn’t support your argument.
      She doesn’t have support from the dads now. That doesn’t mean she knew she wouldn’t have it when she had the children – so you are left with no reason to suggest she had any reason to believe she should not have had them, between the time they were conceived and their dates of birth.


    Well I concede defeat. A 31 year old unmarried woman with 4 children from two or more different fathers. A new baby only 5 months old. No support for any of the children from their fathers, financial or otherwise. An unlucky woman indeed. I shouldn’t be so judgemental. I don’t have any right to be. Just because I supported my child by working and didn’t have anymore because I couldn’t afford it. Still I managed to pay a bit of tax and national insurance. A good thing too with so many unlucky women about. It’s very odd don’t you think how so many of these unlucky women have so many children. It is almost as if they were a bit irresponsible and had babies without much thought as to the stability of their circumstances. But no, that is far too judgemental and sweeping a statement as I’m sure you would agree. So I agree totally with you. My error entirely. I shall hang my head in shame.

    1. Rebekah

      I’m with you Belinda, I’m fortunate to work and have a partner but have two children because I can’t afford more. I also can’t afford to get my hair done and sorry unless that’s a picture of someone else, it is a person made up with coloured hair a luxury beyond me.
      I do feel sorry for the lady because today this shouldn’t happen but at the same time we have to be responsible for our action and not depend on a government that appears to not know what they are doing.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        As far as social security is concerned, the minority Conservative government knows exactly what it is doing; it is intentionally making life impossible for people on benefits.
        Yes, people should be responsible for their actions, but the benefit system is there exactly for when people have fallen on hard times because of circumstances beyond their control and you need to remember this.
        It is easy to refer to our own situation and then make judgements about other people, about whom we know nothing – but it isn’t right. For example: How do you know the newspaper didn’t pay for this lady to be presentable in its photograph? You don’t.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I hadn’t seen your comments. They came at a time when the site was extremely busy. I have around 650 comments to work through at the moment and I see yours are among them.

      1. The Toffee

        Well Mike, all’s I can say is that if you look at the comments section on the link to the daily mirror story, you’ll see that Belinda’s point(s) are the main question people have asked, so the consensus validates it.

        Unless all those asking that question on the mirror website are trolls?

  4. Rebekah

    Sorry Mike I would have something to say if the newspaper paid for her to be presentable, this is the problem with media it’s so hard to see a true representation of the situation.
    Maybe the people I know would want the world to see the truth and being presentable isn’t the main point of the story so wouldn’t be their objective but that is probably why they aren’t in the media. One family I know lost their father and the mother worked full time and the oldest was 13 so became responsible for looking after the home, this didn’t stop her from studying and she was encouraged with the support of her family to get her degree and her brother and younger sister have also carried on studying and they will amaze you on their weekly shop or what it was.
    I can say that now life is easier because they now have two incomes and got through it. They have managed to move into better accommodation and the craziest thing is they help others.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Your story about the other family is welcome – but it’s a different story, and that’s the point.
      If you’re trying to make a comparison, you’re doing the wrong thing. You can’t make comparisons because the circumstances, and the personalities involved, are different.

Comments are closed.