Family ‘lives on chips and pasta’ for six weeks after oven breaks amid council repair delay

A mum said her family was living on chips, chicken nuggets and pasta after a six-week wait for the council to fix their oven.

Sophie Murphy said, her husband and their two kids were getting by with a borrowed microwave, AirFryer and camp fire hob after their oven broke before Christmas last year.

The 31-year-old retail worker, whose children are aged four and 12, said the family ‘can’t afford’ to keep buying takeaways amid the six-week wait.

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She said the cooker stopped working after a fuse blew on Monday, December 20.

A Birmingham City Council worker came to their Kings Norton home on Christmas Eve, but after realising it was a bigger job than expected, it was left broken and with wires exposed.

“It will be six weeks this week,” she told BirminghamLive.

“I’ve had to borrow a microwave because I didn’t own one. I had to buy a two hob that you have for camping to boil stuff.

“The first week we had to have help from neighbours and someone lent me their microwave, I’ve had to borrow somebody’s Air Fryer to do the chips.

“Basically we’ve just been doing chips, chicken nuggets, pasta – and that’s all you can really cook without an oven.”

On weekends, she has to try to cook with no oven for five children, as her husband’s three other kids join them for the two days.

“I am so stressed and upset with the situation. I can’t afford to pay for an electrician myself and I have been struggling to feed my kids for five weeks,” Sophie, whose husband also works in retail, said.

“I have two children and my husband has three who stop on the weekend, so I’m trying to cook for seven people.

Sophie Murphy, Downland Close, Birmingham

“We’ve been paying for takeaways and things like that, but I told the council ‘there’s only so many takeaways we can buy’.

“We don’t get a lot of money from work, obviously we just get by so we can’t afford to keep having takeaways.”

She said her son, in the process of being diagnosed with autism, was also ‘very picky with food’, adding to the difficulties.

“He can only have certain foods which is difficult without having an oven,” she continued.

“The (the council) said they would send an email to get someone out to do the job. They said: ‘Someone will contact you within 24 hours and they never do.’

” Birmingham City Council said they were coming out this Tuesday but just to have a look first.”

The council apologised for the problems and vowed to ensure it was ‘replaced as soon as possible’.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We are sorry for the problems caused by the failure to repair the tenants’ broken cooker. A housing officer will ensure it is replaced as soon as possible.”

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