CLOSER EXLUSIVE Scrounger mum: “I told my teen to get pregnant so she could get more benefits”

Sinead Clarkson says it's easier to claim state handouts than find a job - and her 19-year-old daughter thinks the same.


by Ellie Henman |
Published on

Unemployed Sinead Clarkson, 36, has never worked a day in her life and is quite happy for her two daughters to follow in her footsteps.

Shockingly, she even encouraged her teenage daughter, Melissa, 19, who’s five months pregnant, to have a baby so she could claim more state handouts.

And worryingly now single mum Sinead says her youngest daughter Amie, 12, is also showing signs of following her bad example.

The family, from Rochdale, rake in £1,200 benefits between them per month which includes their rent and have £500 disposable income to spend. When Melissa has her baby in July she will have an extra £400 a month and a two bed council house.

And work-shy Sinead has no interest in ever getting a job because it’s ‘easier’ for her to claim handouts.

Sinead boasts: "I’m better off on benefits. I refuse to work for a pittance and struggle. I don't have any qualifications so it's easier to claim benefits than persuade an employer to give me a job. I told Melissa to work the system and have a baby so she could claim more benefits, get a house of her own and have a better life. I don’t want her to work for peanuts in a low paid job.

Sinead with daughters Melissa and Amie
Sinead with daughters Melissa and Amie

She adds: “My 12-year-old Aime talks about having a baby too but she's still in school and hopefully will get some qualifications, but if she did decide to go down the same route as Melissa I would support her. I’ve set her a bad example and she might copy me and Melissa."

Sadly Sinead is not alone in her apathetic view towards work.

Recent statistics show 15,000 households in the UK contain two generations who have never had a job.

And experts have revealed the worryingly trend could get worse if unemployed parents refuse to find work - providing poor role models to their children.

Sinead has been claiming benefits since she was 16 after dropping out of school when she fell pregnant at 15.

She says: “It wasn’t planned but I was happy to leave school because I didn’t like it - I had no career aspirations. My boyfriend left me but my parents stood by me.”

Sinead started claiming £260 a month income support during her pregnancy. She had Melissa in July 1994 and nine months later, was given her own two bedroom council house, and £68 in child benefits.

And as Melissa grew up, Sinead decided against looking for work.

She says: “I didn’t have time to find a job with Melissa and I was happy staying at home. I didn't want to be working all the hours under the sun for low wages like some of my friends. Being a stay at home mum suited me - it was better than being stressed at work. When she started school I felt lonely and would just sit around watching TV, or visit friends."

In 2001 Sinead gave birth to Amie, after a brief relationship.

She was delighted when her handouts went up to £1020 a month including her rent, child tax credits and benefits. She also got a three bedroom council house. She says: “Amie wasn’t planned, but I was excited about being a mum again. Plus I knew my benefits would increase and the extra money would come in handy. I was able to treat the girls to new clothes and toys. The house was nice too, and had a garden. ”

And over the years, her poor work ethic started to rub off on Melissa.

Melissa says: “Growing up mum’s always said I should have a baby. I had no qualifications and no hope of getting a job so having a baby seemed to best option. I’ve always loved babies.

Sinead adds: “Melissa kept missing meetings at the job centre and they'd stop her cash, so I had to share my benefits with her. I told her she'd be better off having children and getting paid for it, rather than trying to get a job."

A month later Melissa – who had been with her boyfriend just 18 months – fell pregnant.

For the Melissa's full story buy this week's Closer, out now.

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