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Jobless mother-of-10 vows to keep having more babies despite cuts to her 30,000-a-year benefits
Iona Heaton, 44, wants NHS fertility treatment to conceive 11th child Made decision after family's benefit bill of 30,000 was reduced
Family was moved to 180,000 four-bedroom home last year
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Iona Heaton, pictured with Paul and seven of their children, said 21,000 benefits are not enough to live on
The family were moved out of their terraced house into a 180,000 semi-detached after she complained
The couple, who own a 12-seater Land Rover, spend upwards of 1,000 every Christmas
Last year, while pregnant with her tenth child, Miss Heaton demanded a bigger council house in the countryside after complaining that her terraced house was damp and cold.
The couple now live in a spacious three bedroom semi-detached home with large gardens worth more than 180,000 in a leafy part of Blackburn, Lancashire.
The house has a wide flat-screen TV, computers, Nintendo Wii, digital camera and iPhone and the family take a two-week holiday to Pontins in Southport each year. They receive 279 disability allowance each month because their daughter Elle has epilepsy, 400 a month in child benefits and a further 1,200 a month from child tax credits, plus other benefits.
Their annual handouts were cut to just over 21,600 when Mr Brown, 46, took on extra work as a metal polisher. But since having another child he has reduced his hours resulting in the family’s handouts returning to about 25,000, Miss Heaton said.
This means they are unlikely to be affected by the Government’s upcoming 500-a-week benefits cap.
Miss Heaton says her partner’s 1,000-a-month income is not enough despite lavishing her children with expensive gifts at Christmas and taking the whole family on a two-week holiday every year.
She added: ‘We just wouldn’t be able to survive on his wage alone. I help to pay the rent and bills with the benefits and it costs a lot to feed and clothe so many children.
‘We need the money to pay for things – there’s nothing wrong with that.’ The couple, who own a 12-seater Land Rover, spend upwards of 1,000 every Christmas.
Ms Heaton, pictured pregnant with her tenth child, said she always wanted a big family
Last year, some of the gifts they bought their children included a pool table, bicycles, remote- controlled cars and large dolls’ houses. Miss Heaton said: ‘I’m going to get a bigger pool table for them this year. I like treating them at Christmas.
‘We love our children. They’re not starving or under-clothed. People will probably have their opinions, but each to their own.’
Miss Heaton, herself one of eight children, has a younger jobless sister, Sinead, who has nine offspring.
The family moved into their current privately rented property with large gardens three months ago and Miss Heaton said that she helps to pay the 700 per month rent with her benefits.
The boys now share two spacious double bedrooms with the new baby in a cot in the room Miss Heaton shares with Mr Brown.
She said: ‘If I could I would move into the countryside but for the moment this house is nice and the children love playing out in the big gardens.’
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It’s time to end a culture where some can simply ignore the cost of having a child where others are forced to scrimp, save and cut back to afford to start a family.
‘Welfare should not be an alternative to work yet clearly it is for Iona Heaton. The system should help someone find employment, not subsidise them to avoid it.’