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Martin Kirby Column; A Few Home Truths

By Moanagram  |  Posted: February 22, 2013

Heather Frost

Comments (16)

Until last week, few of us had heard of Heather Frost, and when the fuss over Tewkesbury Borough Council offering to build her a six-bedroom eco-home worth £400,000 dies down, we will soon forget her. Why? Because you can bet that another 'old woman who lived in a shoe' is waiting in the wings.
That's why I'm not bothering to join the chorus of outrage against Ms Frost – as she quite rightly says – it isn't her fault. It's the system.
Many people are unemployed through no fault of their own and are desperate to get back into a job. But those who aren't keen on earning a living know that banging-out a few kids will get them kitted-out with everything they need at the expense of those who are daft enough to work.
In today's bleeding heart society, where everything is someone else's fault and someone else's responsibility, there are people who see living on benefits as their God-given right and anyone who objects is regarded as a Victorian villain, casting infants out into the snow.
Although the 'build her a house' story grabs headlines, it's a drop in the ocean of cash being drained from the system by hundreds of thousands of unemployed (and unemployable) people who are happy to grab whatever's going - and there's quite a lot.
According to the website GOV.UK; "You get Child Benefit if you're responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). You get a tax-free payment for each child". It also points out; "If you or your partner have an individual income of more than £50,000 and one of you is entitled to get Child Benefit you might be affected by a new tax charge".
The current rates are; Eldest or only child, £20.30. Additional children (per child) £13.40. True, it's not a fortune, but let's move on to the HM Revenue and Customs website; "Tax credits are payments from the government. If you're responsible for at least one child or young person and they're under 16, or under 20 and in approved education or training, you may qualify for Child Tax Credit, which isn't taxable.
Your children could get free school meals if you get an income-based benefit (for example Income Support), or Child Tax Credit only".
Next, health; "If there is a charge for your treatment and you're on a low income, you could get, among other things, free prescriptions, free dental treatment and eyesight tests, vouchers towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses and help with the cost of travel for some NHS treatment".
With 'Healthy Start' you can get: coupons to exchange for free vitamins, weekly vouchers to buy milk, fresh or plain frozen fruit and vegetables, or infant formula milk. If you are pregnant and under the age of 18, you will automatically qualify whether or not you get other benefits or Child Tax Credit.
If you're on a low income and getting certain benefits or tax credits, you could get a Sure Start Maternity Grant. This is a one-off payment to help towards the cost of maternity and baby items. The grant is tax-free and you don't have to repay it. The grant is £500 paid as a lump sum. If you've had twins or triplets for example, you can get £500 for each baby.
By the way, Child Benefit doesn't count as income for other benefits.
Now I'm not suggesting that every unemployed person with children gets all of these benefits at once, but no matter who gets what, it's important to remember that those who work and pay tax are the ones providing it.
Ladies of my generation remember when being pregnant while single was a disaster. Not just because of what the neighbours would think, but more importantly, it was an extra child to provide a home for, with no additional income. There was no 'Healthy Start' or Housing Benefit in those days; girls just had to hope their parents would support them.


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  • supernova1  |  February 23 2013, 10:01AM

    I did see a headline today in a newspaper that said; 'She should get off her back.........side'!

    |   6
  • Ysedra  |  February 23 2013, 9:12AM

    by PengiPete "When you get a case like this that is such an incredibly rare example, it's ridiculous try to say that it in any way represents or reflects on society as a whole. You may as well say that the Yorkshire Ripper is proof that Britain is full of sick-minded serial killers." Rare example it might be, and of course the influence of this story may well have been exacerbated by the influence of these tabloids (among which the Citizen/Echo can now squarely be counted), but one can't discount that influence upon teenage girls who now have concrete evidence that 'Breeding For Income, as Interociter puts it, works. And as Kirby puts it, being a single mother no longer carries a stigma, or not enough of one to matter. On the face of it, I'm extremely surprised that anyone can be on benefits with 11 children and not 'enjoy' intense scrutiny from social services with a view to taking away some of those children. Perhaps that's the real worry, that time and resources are being ploughed into this one problem, while other desperate, but more responsible families get little assistance and go to the wall, ultimately creating more expense for the state. Martin Kirby is clearly approaching this from the right, and yes, we do tend to lean that way with age, but however tawdry the press' behaviour has been, the case of Heather Frost is not just an extreme example, but a blueprint for a generation of sloth which needs to be replaced with better plans. And if a rightwing attitude attracts criticism, the views of the left are no less risible in this situation.

    |   9
  • raidermanuk  |  February 23 2013, 1:26AM

    BishopHooper Yup, that's right, it's the system that's at fault! To change hearts and minds, attitudes and behaviours is essential but it's a long term goal with limited achievability without associated system changes. Let me give a few stereotypical situations that illustrate the point. If council flats were not available at the drop of the hat to single teenage girls what effect do you think that would have? What might be the knock on effect on the other linked benefits that are usually paid out at the same time? In the context of future multiple child families what would be the effect of limiting child benefit to the first two or three children (obviously with a transition period safety net)? How about there being no benefit paid beyond the value of a house with three bedrooms. If the tenant on housing benefit wants a property that has 4 bedrooms they pay the difference regardless. They want it, they pay for it. Do you see that these type of system changes are the essential support for the desired attitude changes and how they can bring about change quickly?

    |   -2
  • interociter  |  February 23 2013, 12:58AM

    BFI = Breeding For Income! Forget the righteous indignation from the leftie loons, the fact is that she is no more than a social parasite! More to the point she is proud of it! Not mentioned yet are the microlight lessons,the exotic parrot costing almost £1000 and more indulgencies. "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson.

    |   -1
  • justjude  |  February 23 2013, 12:10AM

    this foul mouthed rant is so wrong in so many ways. I have no sympathy with the lady in question, and without doubt some people abuse the benefits system. But the loss to the taxpayer, the burden to those who pay PAYE, (I bet martin has an accountant to limit his tax liability), pails into insignificance to the amount of tax that is avoided and evaded by the well off in society. Mr Kirby and his friends are adept at squeezing every penny out of the state that they can. Make a charitable donation, get tax relief, an obe and tea with the queen. Private tutor your kids too steal grammar school places that should go to the poor. It has long been established that it is the upper middle class who are the biggest exploiters of the welfare state, but Mr kirby will never attack his rotary/lions/golf/masonic club friends who provide such nice paid for lunches, no lets demonise a woman in Tewksbury whilst Carr/barlow and beckham avoid their social responsibility without comment

    |   11
  • BishopHooper  |  February 22 2013, 9:27PM

    oh right... Now I get it...... Its the systems fault she has 11 kids by however many different men.. Its not hers. Its also the systems fault that she wont apparently take maintainence money from said fathers... And as the system caused her to have 11 kids, she can't work.... What utter tosh.

    |   14
  • raidermanuk  |  February 22 2013, 7:02PM

    Something is missing here!

    |   -6
  • theoldbean  |  February 22 2013, 6:36PM

    if tig got some proper columnists then maybe people would buy the printed version,what a load of tosh......quote..Ladies of my generation remember when being pregnant while single was a disaster.So what about the generation before you and them too.Comparing past regimes is such poor journalism,i take it you went to work on your penny farthing today?The true problem is that with a large family and you work you end up with nothing,council tax is too high,wages too low.The government has given so much power to companies with regards to flexibility,agencies that it makes it very hard to combine a family life with work. Surestar is only for your first child also...research stops you looking STUPID

    |   8
  • Ms_Superstar  |  February 22 2013, 6:04PM

    Neil_65, Martin Kirby is a columnist. It is the job of columnists to spout nonsense in order to provoke controversy. It is not all right when opinions are expressed as news. TiG has crossed the line in terms of ethical reporting, and has stirred up a lot of hatred. But the views of columnists need to be taken with a pinch of salt or,in this case, Gloucestershire Highways' entire winter stock.

    |   11
  • FreeRadical1  |  February 22 2013, 6:00PM

    Neil, I'm sure that Martin used to be close to Labour, but the behaviour of certain Labour politicians may have caused him to think again. Also, people tend to get more right-wing as they grow older.

    |   -1