Family rely on food banks after Barclays ‘error’ leaves them £1.5m overdrawn

A family-of-five are living off food banks and family handouts after being plunged into poverty when an apparent banking error left them £1.5 MILLION overdrawn.

Parents Paul and Kayleigh Livermore say they are struggling to provide for their three children aged 11, eight and seven after three accounts were frozen by Barclays, each of them £500,000 in the red.

The suspected error was first noticed almost a month ago on Bank Holiday Monday and the bank has launched an investigation.

The three accounts were all in credit before they were listed as overdrawn by almost half-a-million pounds each – making it possibly the largest overdraft in the world.

Each account had a minus balance of around £500,000 but Paul insists he never had an overdraft but had agreed an emergency £10 buffer with the bank.

They defaulted on payments for their car, tax, rent, phone bills and have relied on the food bank to top up their gas and electricity.

Facilities assistant Paul, of Worthing, West Sussex, burst into tears when he realised his joint, savings and personal accounts had all been suspended.

Paul said: "I first noticed it on Easter Monday when I was using my card to do some family shopping and I was withdrawing my cash for the week.

"It told me my bank account had been suspended.

"Initially the account was suspended for ten working days and then they told me the accounts were going to be held indefinitely under investigation.

"The bank have also text me saying that bills have not been paid and our mobile phone accounts have been suspended for outgoing calls as well as the home internet.

"We have pretty much been living off hand outs since Bank Holiday Monday, I have never been in a situation like this before and it is so embarrassing to ask for so much help.

"The kids are managing and we are making sure they are eating, they have lunch at school, but I have had to encourage them to play on the PlayStation less and play more in the garden.

"The food bank gave us a lot of vegetables, fruit and items for the cupboard as well as some bread and milk.

"They have also offered to let us use the local homeless kitchen which helps those in need, it is really overwhelming how supportive everyone has been.

"We have been eating more stews as you can make them to last several days, lots of pasta too."

Paul gets paid monthly, but because of Easter his last cheque was earlier.

He should have plenty of money left from his wages, but he’s been unable to access it, and none of their bills have been paid.

Paul is currently in negotiations with his bosses to try to free up some cash but has so far been unsuccessful.

He added: "I cried when I saw the figure, I was gobsmacked and didn’t know what was going on.

"It’s so confusing and stressful, we have missed payments for our car finance, tax and rent because of this."

Paul has no access to his accounts and has complained to Barclays but has yet to receive an explanation for the issue.

The dad-of-three added: "Maybe Barclays could explain why my account was suspended so abruptly with no explanation.

"I’m angry and disappointed, I have been a Barclays customer for over 15 years, it’s not good enough."

Barclays have confirmed they are investigating the matter, but are currently unable to ascertain how long the matter will take to get sorted.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “We are currently investigating the matter.”

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