Single mother-of-eight threatens to go back on benefits
ENGLAND - A single mother-of-eight said she could be forced back on to the dole due to the huge cost of her children’s school dinner money.
Marie Buchan, 33, from Weoley Castle, Birmingham, said she would be better off staying at home on benefits rather than working 16 hours a week as a carer.
The former lap dancer said the £80 weekly cost of school dinners for her enormous brood meant she was worse off by working.
Ms Buchan spoke as the government prepared to lower the benefit cap - the total amount that can be claimed by most people of working age - from £26,000 to £20,000 from next Monday. Opponents of the controversial move have claimed it will hit Britain’s most vulnerable families as the cap is usually applied through a cut in housing benefit. Ms Buchan told Radio 5 Live that she would lose £6,000. She said: ‘I have been told I will be better off if I don’t work until my youngest daughter turns five. I work 16 hours a week as a carer, getting paid the minimum wage of £7.50. ‘But I have to pay for school meals which costs me £80 per week. I would be better off not working. Losing £6,000 is going to have a huge effect on myself and my children.’ She also admitted she would not have had so many children had she known how hard she would have to struggle. She said: ‘It is every parent’s right to have as many children as they want but I wouldn’t have had so many if I had known how difficult it would be.’ Her children are aged 13 to two and have the same father, who looks after them while she works weekends. The benefits cap cut was announced last year by former chancellor George Osborne. Ms Buchan later fell into £4,000 of rent arrears but was spared eviction from her Bournville Village Trust home. As well as working, she attends a mechanics course three days a week at Bournville College and eventually hopes to set up a mobile mechanic business aimed at women.
Marie Buchan and her children.