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Mother of seven, Julie Came, claimed 127,000 in benefits to fund a luxury lifestyle of exotic holidays and designer clothes while living in a 1million house.

She pleaded poverty to get income support, housing and council tax benefits but her country home had six horses with stables, three cars parked in the drive, two tennis courts and home entertainment systems in every room.

She also had an au pair to help with the children and had an account at Harrods. A source said, “She went to Orlando with her family regularly. There was an awful lot of stuff, designer clothes, quad bikes, pool tables and a 2,000 bed. It was definitely lavish.”


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Families living in local authority “mansions” have become Britain’s biggest scroungers, raking in 6million a year from the taxpayer. One couple with 14 children get their 1,700-a-month rent paid by the local council and receive another 50,000 a year in benefits. In another house, a family of eight adults and nine children live in luxury. While most of us struggle to meet rent or mortgage payments, an investigation by the Sunday Express has exposed a catalogue of families on the fiddle up and down the country. It discovered six, seven and eight-bedroom properties used to accommodate huge households, all at taxpayers’ expense.

Inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act to 108 town halls found the average cost of providing accommodation to the biggest family in each council area was 17,500 a year or 1,450 a month. It means the cost across all 335 councils in England and Wales is close to 6million. Margaret Wilson, her partner Eric Jamieson and their 14 children live in an eight-bedroom house in Newcastle’s West End. Ms Wilson has 17 children in all, though three have grown up and left home. She said she had no regrets about the huge cost to the taxpayer of keeping her family.

She said, “They have called me the mother of all scroungers but I couldn’t care less. I have 17 kids and 14 of them still living here. We need the room.” In addition to the rent, the family also claims tax credit of 619 a week, child benefit of 165, carer’s allowance of 58, income support of 37 and housing benefit of 61, a yearly total of almost 50,000. The rent is paid by Newcastle City Council under a scheme called Local Housing Allowance. Families can use a complex formula based on the number of adults and the age and sexes of their children to claim entitlement to a house with a specific number of bedrooms.

The scheme has left councils struggling to find homes big enough to house families with a large number of children, and means they often rent more luxurious properties than would be offered to a smaller family. Investigation uncovered 19 houses with six, seven or eight bedrooms. In the London borough of Barnet eight adults and nine children share a five-bedroom house which costs 3,146 a month. Seven London councils admitted paying more than 3,000 a month to put up extended families, including 4,117 a month for a six-bed home in Wandsworth for a family of 12. (Source:
Sunday Express, Feb/10)

Jobless Mike Blake is about to become a father of five... at just 19. He and pregnant wife Kathleen, have never worked and receive 1,150 a month in benefits. They live rent-free in a three-bedroom council house but want a bigger one when baby No5 arrives.

But Mike claimed, "I'm not a shirker. I want to work. We're not scroungers. Looking after all these children is a full-time job. It's extremely hectic. If one of us worked, the other would have to cope by themselves. That wouldn't be fair. People say I'm too young to cope and it's been hard sometimes. When the kids are screaming I've got in the car, but I never get further than the end of the road." He can afford a car?

Mike wants to work in construction, but only when the children are older. "There's always work for builders so I can do that," he said. "But it wouldn't be right to go to work and leave the kids with Kathleen." They spend just 60 a week on food. He said, "It's tough living on a tight budget but we get by and the kids are healthy and happy."

A jobless couple with ten kids would have to earn 67,000 a year to match what they get from the state. Sue and Pete Davison, who haven't had a job between them since 1997, want to work. But our handouts culture pays them nearly 45,000 a year. Meanwhile it's tax paid by the average worker, earning just 25,428, which foots that bill. Pete last worked 13 years ago when he was made redundant from a factory job. He said, "At the same time Sue was in a bus crash and became unwell so I started to care for her and the kids. But I am ready to get back to work. There just aren't the jobs at a salary which would it beneficial. I can't work in McDonald's for little more than minimum wage."

At their four-bedroom council maisonette in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, mum Sue admitted, "People might say we're only having kids for the benefits. But that's nonsense. I'd always wanted a large family and we have very little money at all left over. The house isn't dripping with mobile phones and computers. I have a laptop which the kids fight over to help with their homework. Our weekly food bill is often 300. Pete likes the odd glass of beer but he doesn't go to the pub. I might take the kids to the pictures but we go early when it's cheaper. We have days out to the seaside and picnics rather than holidays. If we had loads of money we'd be living in a big house but that's not the case."

She added, "Everything goes on feeding and clothing the kids plus household bills. Our one luxury is the 35-a-month Sky TV." The family's current tax-free handouts include 76-a-week housing benefit, their 700 council tax bill, 390-a-week child tax credits, child benefit of 104 a week and school meals to the tune of 63 a week. Pete gets income support of 80 a week but ironically the family is financially better off since Sue sadly lost a leg this year after complications following a fall at a leisure centre. Pete is now her full-time carer with a weekly allowance of 53, while Sue gets 97 a week in disability payments. It all adds up to 44,820, they'd have to earn 67,000 gross to take that home after tax. (Source:
News of the World, Aug/10)

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