Friday, October 17, 2008

A tale of two families

It is a story which crystalises the dubious values encouraged by the British welfare state.

While hardworking Sean and Anne Tate scrimp to afford a few little luxuries for their ten children on his £15,000 lorry driver's salary, a family of the same size two miles away take things a little easier.

Harry Crompton, 50, has been out of work for 15 years and his wife Tracey, 40, has never had a job.

A tale of two families: Anne Tate, above with nine of her ten children, says her family 'would never scrounge' while Harry and Tracey Crompton, below with nine of their children, take £32,000 benefits

Yet thanks to the generosity of the welfare state they receive £32,656 a year. The Cromptons have been nicknamed 'Britain's Biggest Freeloaders' by their neighbours in Hull.

Mrs Tate, 43, a stay-at-home mother, could barely believe what she was reading when she saw media coverage of the Cromptons' situation earlier this week.

'I am absolutely furious,' she said. 'The Government want shooting for allowing people to get away with scrounging like this.

'We have worked hard all our lives to provide for our kids, and when you see families like this it makes you wonder why you bother.

'But we have pride in ourselves and would never scrounge like this family. It makes me sick. Gas, water, electricity, council tax has all gone up – we don't get any help with that.'

The Tates bought their three-bedroom house from the council four years ago and built an extension with two extra bedrooms.

The Cromptons, by contrast, were provided with two semis knocked together by the council at a cost of £20,000.

The couple's only income from paid work is £20 a week from eldest son Michael, who has a factory job.

Tracey and Harry Crompton have bought £3,000 of Christmas presents already with their benefit money

They receive a further £628 a week in income support, disability allowance, carer's allowance, child tax credit, plus £120 a week rent on their seven-bedroom house.

A working parent would have to earn £46,500 a year to match their income. The only state handouts the Tates receive is child benefit – which is available to all parents regardless of how much they earn.

Life is cramped to say the least in their home in Hull's Bransholme district. Michael, 23, has moved out, but Gary, 20, Leanne, 18, Brandon, 12, Shaunnah, 11, Mercedes Rose, seven, triplets Madison Rae, Porschia Lillie and Poppie Marie, five, and Jayden, three, still live there.

Over at the Cromptons', the walls are dirty and the floor is covered in videos and magazines. Mrs Crompton says she 'doesn't have much time for cleaning'.

The Tates' home and garden are immaculate. Mr Tate, 44, recently installed a new kitchen and designed and built a new marble fireplace in the living room.

Mrs Tate said: 'You don't have to live like a tramp. People think you do if you have big family. Everything we have got you work hard for and look after.

'There is a lot of love in any house. In our house. because there are more of us, it goes around.

'We have a lot of fun. We always have a house-full and the children bring their friends as well.'

The Cromptons seem to be less happy with their lot. Earlier this week Mrs Crompton said she would have to be 'very well paid' to make it worth her while getting a job.

She added: 'I'm not satisfied with the benefits we get – I want more.'

Mr Crompton says he is unable to work due to angina and irritable bowel syndrome.

Hat Tip: Crusader Rabbit

Now I'm off to puke!

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