“A nine-year-old girl begged for work to feed her family after delayed Universal Credit payments left her dad skint.
The girl made a heartbreaking plea on the phone to a charity, telling how her mum died and that her dad had recently lost his job as a lorry driver in Torbay.
And a five-week delay in her father’s first Universal Credit payment meant the family was left with barely and food.
She said: “I’ll do anything. I don’t mind cleaning floors, making beds,” The Mirror reports.
Ellie Waugh, who took the heartbreaking call yesterday, said the youngster was “really worried because her family didn’t have any money”.
She offered to do “any” job to help buy food and get her two younger siblings Christmas presents.
The little girl added: “I don’t want to let them down.”
Ellie said: “I can’t tell you how horrendous it was hearing a child beg for work in this day and age.
“She told me, ‘I don’t mind cleaning floors, making beds. My daddy has always worked and he says you have to work to get things. I’ll do anything I can so I can buy my brother and sister a Christmas present. I can cook and I don’t mind working on a Saturday and Sunday or after school.’ After the call I just cried. Hearing that is like we’ve gone back to Victorian times.”
The dad was raising the three children alone in Torbay after his wife died four years ago. The girl contacted Humanity Torbay, which provides food banks and support for the vulnerable.
CEO Ellie reassured the brave child she would not have to work. She called her dad, who wants to remain nameless, and promised food and support.
Ellie said: “He cried because he was embarrassed but because he is proud of her. Proud that she loved her brother and sister so much she wanted to help them. He said they were literally down to their last few bits in the freezer.”
Ellie and her volunteers visited the family with food parcels last night.
Offers of support also flooded in, with strangers donating Christmas turkeys and presents.
The dad said: “I’m very proud of my daughter and horrified I’ve been reduced to this. It’s humbling that people want to help us.”
Ellie has invited Theresa May and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey to visit her charity, but is yet to receive a response.
She said: “I want them to see the reality of what Universal Credit is doing, to see the look of ‘no hope’ in people’s eyes when they come asking for food.”
Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said: “It is heartbreaking that a young girl was so worried about her family she begged a charity for work. Tory ministers cannot put their hands over their ears and pretend they can’t hear her.”