£600 on Christmas presents spent by woman on benefits

OK, so I watched The One Show last night. I’ll fess up, I wouldn’t normally but as I haven’t got a housemate to blame it on any more I can’t really get out of it, I watched it – let’s move on. On the show, a single mother on benefits explained how she’d spent over £600 this last Christmas on presents for her toddler. She bought crap such as a ride on electric bike and a ride on electric quad bike (he couldn’t decide between them so she bought both) and a train set.

The mother said she’d bought her son everything he’d wanted, which actually meant everything he’d pointed at on the TV and in the Argos catalogue (her words, not mine).

The report showed the toddler in his room, which was full of the stuff he had Christmas (as the proud mum explained, only the bed was not for Christmas) and he honestly didn’t know what to do with it all.

The woman even stated how she wanted to spend more but her mother stopped her.

Naturally she couldn’t afford all of this crap, and she already had debts to pay off from catalogues, so a debt consolidation expert came round to see her. He explained how she could pay a nominal amount each month and write off her debt after a year, which would also affect her credit rating. However she was a proud woman and wanted to pay it off herself, rather than feel that she’d somehow avoided paying it… with her benefit money of course.

You can probably tell that this has somewhat annoyed me. I’m not the best with money (not by a long shot) but I am getting better. However, at no point have I squandered money such as this while on benefits, and at the same time having a series of debts that I couldn’t pay.

Shouldn’t basic economics be taught at school so situations such as this don’t arise? Then of course, as people such as this mother are able to spend ludicrous sums of money while on benefits, and then simply write off their debt, perhaps it’s not economics that should be taught, it’s ethics.

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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3 thoughts on “£600 on Christmas presents spent by woman on benefits”

  1. I’m glad that I’m not the only one to be staggered by this feature on the One Show. However, we need to be careful not to assume that everyone on benefits behaves in this way. Thankfully the balanced view of this article does not do that, but many others would be quick to tar everyone with the same brush.

  2. Before Basic Economics basic parenting should be taught in schools. Lets look at the route cause of the problem. Kids are being brought into the world without first a stable foundation to build on i.e. a Mother and Father (Insert same gender if you like). The promiscuity of the 90’s has led to a boom in single parents that have no way of supporting a family of 3+. If someone is on benefits they should have a different credit rating that indicates that they are receiving support from the state. This would make it impossible to obtain a credit card/credit in the first place…which would force them to save. Im pretty sure that at some point in my life I may have to sign on, no one knows what is round the corner. But one thing is for sure, I’d happily go from Finance to Toilet Cleaner is it meant being able to provide.

  3. Oh dear oh dear. Of course in the good old days when single parents had their babies taken away from them and were spat on in the streets, nobody every got into debt did they?

    ” If someone is on benefits they should have a different credit rating that indicates that they are receiving support from the state.”

    Why not just tattoo Promiscuous Slag on their forehead? Most parents are not single through choice you muppet.

    I certainly agree that credit is far too easy to come by but lets not tar all single parents with the same brush.

    And giving children lessons in How to Budget should be mandatory. You can get through life without knowing one end of a quadratic equation from another but being able to work out that 29% APR = bankrupt is very important.

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