13 Oct 2015

No fraud, just a ridiculous benefits regime

A mother-of-twelve who pockets tens of thousands of pounds in benefits spent £1,300 on birthday presents for her son's sixth birthday but says those with an opinion can 'get stuffed'.

Cheryl Prudham, 33, who lives in Lancashire, uses taxpayers' money to lavish nearly £12,000 of expensive gifts on her children per year because she wants them to feel 'truly special'.

For her son Leon's sixth birthday, she and her 31-year-old husband Robert - who receive around £40,000 in state handouts - bought him a 50cc petrol quad bike with a personalised number plate which cost £500.

On top of that, the couple also bought him a bouncy castle for £650, before spending £150 on other items, including a new school backpack.

But, despite admitting frittering away nearly £12,000 per year on her children's gifts, the mother - who says she is a 'reluctant celebrity' - says she does not care if people criticise her spending habits.

She even suggests taxpayers could give her money via direct debit to 'cut out the middle man'.

Mrs Prudham said: 'I'm just taking what the government gives me: if you find a tenner in the street you're going to pick it up, aren't you? Anyone that's got an opinion can get stuffed. I think f*** you, this is my beautiful family - I have chosen to have a big family because I want one, not because of money, or because I'm greedy or because I'm a sponger. If you think that I'm taking your tax and hard-earned money, you can set up a direct debit and you can transfer directly to me... cut out the middle man if you want.'

Almost half the parents in the UK say they cannot afford birthday parties for their children. But the Prudhams, who are seen uprooting to a five-bedroom property in Skelmersdale, Lancashire during the documentary, admit spending £500 on each of their children for both birthdays and Christmas.

During the documentary, birthday boy Leon is seen riding around on his new quad bike - which can go at 18mph - and crashing it in a field without wearing a helmet, as his parents watch on.

'This year we've gone a bit over the top with the amount of money we've spent on the kids. They've had around £500 each for their birthdays,' she said. 'But they want the latest gadgets and I don't think they should miss out because there's a lot of them. I just try and make it special for them and give them what I didn't have.'

Mrs Prudham - who at one point even compares herself to Princess Diana - also admits some of the money comes from her child benefit and child tax credits entitlements.

'Child benefit gets used towards birthdays and I don't see anything wrong with that because that's benefitting the child anyway. If a child didn't get anything then they'd be pretty p***** off,' she said.

Mrs Prudham made the admission on Channel 5 documentary Benefits: Britain’s Most Shameless Mum, which followed the family as she geared up to give birth to her twelfth child.

The couple have previously admitted claiming £800 per week in benefits - the equivalent of £56,000 a year salary before tax - which is topped up with Mr Prudham's £250 a week pizza delivery wage.

They managed to avoid the Government's £26,000-a-year cap on state handouts because Mr Prudham works enough hours to claim working tax credit.

But, after moving from their Kent council house earlier this year to a larger house in Lancashire, they began claiming a £200 extra in housing benefit, because it was privately-rented.

'That's what the Government says we're entitled to live on and if they're saying that's what we can have we're not going to say no, are we?' she tells the programme. Apparently we get so much in benefits and I get called benefit scrounger, baby machine. But it's my body and I'll have as many children as I like.

'I'll have 20 if I want I won't have anyone dictate to me what's right and what's wrong.'

At the end of the documentary, Mrs Prudham is filmed with her new daughter Tillie-Grace Ellen, who was born in June via a C-section.

Mrs Prudham told the programme she was determined to have a caesarean birth because she believed a natural labour would be too dangerous.

'I just don't think it's a good idea to start pushing. A lot of celebrities have c-sections, they pay for it - it's £5,000 even on the NHS,' she said. 'People will say "oh look she's draining the system" but I don't care what you all think anyway.'

Although she insisted her large family was nothing to do with money, she admitted that having the twelfth child would mean their money 'will be going up'.

She said: 'The public are going to be fuming when they hear I have baby number 12, especially that I've got what I wanted by having the C-section that I wanted.'

Tillie-Grace's birth came less than a month after Mrs Prudham and her family moved to their home after a 'vicious hate campaign'.

She was allegedly subject to verbal abuse after boasting that she takes her family on foreign holidays and openly splashing out on designer handbags.

It came after the family hit the headlines last year when they took a £7,000 taxpayer-funded jaunt to Menorca, Spain.

In the documentary, the shameless couple are filmed as they hatch plans to pull the children out of school for a term-time holiday to Dorset by pretending the entire family has chicken pox.

Due to new government rules about term-time absence, the family face an £840 fine if they are rumbled, but Mr Prudham seems unconcerned. 'I'm not worried about how much the holiday costs. If we get fined we get fined that's it - you lot pay for them anyway,' he tells the camera.

Mrs Prudham has previously spoken out about how her husband - the father of her five youngest children - allegedly cheated on her before begging to return to the family home.

Speaking about their relationship, she tells the documentary: 'At the moment it's good but Robert after a while seems to get bored and changes personality. He's got family up in Manchester so sometimes he misses them. I feel like I am competing against them that we aren't important enough. It can make me a bit paranoid. It hurts me because I know when he goes up there he's messing about. But I always know he's going to come back with his tail between his legs.'

In a bid to ensure he does not stray, Mr Prudham shows the camera a tattoo on his finger which says 'loves her'. He also has his wife's name inked on his neck and a big portrait of her on his upper arm.

He's stuffed really. If we break up - which we won't - then that won't be easy to cover up,' she said.

Mrs Prudham had her first son George when she was just 17 and was living in a homeless hostel in Kent in the summer of 2000.

She soon moved into a flat with her ex-boyfriend and had second son, Jack, 14, and her eldest daughter Caitlin, ten. She then had three unplanned pregnancies; Maisie, nine, Lillie, seven, and Madison, six.

In March 2009, she met current husband Rob and they had Leon. They then had Lenny, now three, before she gave birth to daughter Lainey in January last year. She then had twins Lacey-May and Lexi-Rose last autumn. They are now eight months old.

Mrs Prudham has previously spoken about how she has planned for baby number 13 and 14, because she believes 13 is an 'unlucky number'.

Amazingly, though, she claims she does not like being pregnant.

'There's always something going on when you have a big family. There's never a dull moment, it's nice having that family life that I never had,' she tells the programme. She's meant to be the last but never say never, we'll have to see. But if I could cut the pregnancy part out and someone else do it for me, I would.'


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For a couple, you only have to work 24 hours per week to claim Working Tax Credits, which means no Benefit Cap.

I have seen quite a few claims from Romanian self employed with 8 kids, getting £40K in tax credits and housing benefit. I am also seeing more and more people from Pakistan with Italian passports coming to live here. 24 hours minimum wage, means they pay no income tax and 12p in national insurance - but they are entitled to every benefit going. Crazy.