Experimental TV show gives families on benefits £26,000 in one go – but will it last?

The Big Benefits Handout

by Jack White |
Published on

**A new televised experiment will see three families on benefits handed their yearly entitlement in one lump sum to see how they cope. **

The Big Benefits Handout, which will air on Channel 5, will follow a family of six, a single mother and an older couple who are each given the maximum yearly benefit cap of £26,000 and encouraged to explore ways to get them off of hand-outs for good.

Each family is given the chance to work with a team of advisors to help them adjust to suddenly having access to such an amount.

The Big Benefits Handout
The Big Benefits Handout ©Channel 5

Two of the couples use the money to set up businesses, and one man takes driving lessons to increase his employability.

But the kids aren’t thinking of the long-term, unsurprisingly. Couple Tony and Diane are left shocked when their 21-year-old son Michael splashes out £400 on a Playstation.

Scott and Leanne, who have four kids, decide to set up a party business – but she’s concerned when he manages to spend £6,000 in just 11 days.

Meanwhile Rachel, a single mum of three, uses some of the money to treat all of her friends and family to a Chinese buffet.

The Big Benefits Handout
The Big Benefits Handout ©Channel 5

She then pays her rent for six-months, before clearing her debts and focusing on getting a job.

Although some have criticised the show, branding it ‘poverty porn’, the producers insist the experiment has been beneficial to all families involved.

Anoushka Roberts said: “It has given them the chance to do something different from he life they had on benefits.”

And financial advisor Lee Healey, said he wouldn’t have got involved had the show been designed to intentionally see the families fail.

He said: “I needed reassurance that the guys were not being set up to fail and that this was about giving people a lifeline and helping them to go forward – not setting them up to splurge the money at once so people would say ‘That’s what I was expecting.’”

**The Big Benefits Handout starts Tuesday 7 February on Channel 5 at 9pm. **

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