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Jobless couple with six children demand bigger house (but say, 'We're not scroungers, honest!')

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 4:52 PM on 3rd December 2010

A jobless couple who want a bigger council house for themselves and their six children insisted today: ‘We're no super-scroungers.’ Kelvin Strudwick, 35, and wife Sarah who claim £30,000 a year in welfare hand-outs, say their three bedroomed house is too small and fear they may have to break up the family by living in two separate properties.

But their plea for help was greeted with a hate campaign by locals in Oldham, Greater Manchester who branded the couple ‘selfish parents’ and ‘baby machines’.

And housing firm First Choice Homes which runs the house on behalf of Oldham Council said there were only 12 houses with five or more bedrooms but none were available.

Over crowded: Kelvin Strudwick and wife Sarah, who claim £30,000 a year in welfare hand-outs, say their three bedroomed house is too small for their six children

Mrs Strudwick - whose fourth child is suffering from leukaemia said: ‘We can’t carry on as we are. Everybody is bickering because they do not have any space or privacy. We have only got one bathroom and with three teenagers it’s not ideal.

‘I don’t want us to live apart but I really don’t know what else we can do. We have spent a lot of money on the house and we love the area.’

Former university student Kelvin said: ‘I want to work but a shelf stacking job at a supermarket is not going to bring more money to the house - if anything it will bring less because we will lose a lot of the benefits.

‘At one point we considered converting the attic and I put wooden steps up there but it would need insulation and we'd need to re-enforce the beams etc.

‘It's not ideal to split the family up but it may be the only alternative, and although FCH said that we can't have a second house because of that reason, it's looking like our only choice at the moment.

‘We would ideally want an extension to our current house, obviously, but a full extension would accommodate two more bedrooms.

‘The council said that the it'd cost £40,000, which I find a bit stupid because there's a new house that was built down the road and I asked the owner how much it cost. He said £35,000.

‘I reckon that the extension could be done with less than £20,000.’

The couple already had children Ethan, now 15, Zackery, 14, and Adrienna, 13 before fourth child Ysabella, now five, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia when she was five-months-old.

They conceived Ezekiel, now 20 months, after two rounds of IVF so they could save the stem cells from the umbilical cord to treat Ysabella.

But there were not enough cells and they were told that they were unable to have more children. Sarah then unexpectedly fell pregnant again last year and gave birth to baby Matilda in April.

The couple have now had to turn a dining room into a bedroom to accommodate the family and Matilda’s cot is squeezed into her parents’ room.

Kelvin has applied for a council house for himself and the three oldest children whilst Sarah would stay with Ysabella, Ezekiel and Matilda.

They claim £86 a week in child benefits, income support of £64 per week, tax credits of £323 per week, housing benefits of £59 per week and £36 per week in free school dinners.

Their present council house in Oldham, Greater Manchester is too small the couple say, but housing firm First Choice Homes which runs the house on behalf of Oldham Council said no others were available

Kevlin said: ‘We understand people's viewpoints about us being on benefits, but people don't know the full story.

‘I did my degree when Sarah was pregnant with Ethan. I went to night school first, then college and then on to university.

‘I have done a lot of work in the past. Whilst at university I worked through agencies. I even joined the army for a bit but it wasn't for me. Then I was a night club barman whilst doing performing arts course.

‘When I found out that we were having a baby I decided that this kind of career path this wouldn't be secure enough so I stopped that course and started something else.

‘I started to do an access course for nursing and completed it for the two of us, as Sarah kept getting pregnant when she tried to do the course herself!

‘I applied to do medicine and I put genetics down as my last option on the application. But my educational history is not very good at all and didn't find out till I went to uni that I was dyslexic.

‘I didn't get enough points to get into medicine and I was accepted to do genetics. I transferred from Liverpool to Manchester University.

‘Unfortunately I only received a third in my degree but it didn't help with my dyslexia as I found it really difficult to write essays.

‘Since then I have applied for about 250 jobs including clinical science and clinical molecular geneticist.

‘I have applied for many but didn't get any interviews at all. I realised that because I had been honest about my dyslexia.

‘I wanted a professional career and I even tried to set up my own business at one point so I could afford to pay for my family.

‘I could get a job doing manual labour but I would not be earning enough money to look after my family. I'd have to be in a professional job to have a wage to afford to support my family, so I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.

‘I feel like I'm too old now to use my degree at all. The last job I applied for I rang them up for some feedback and they said that I was up against 350 other people - it was only a trainee position.

‘I've also been treated for depression for the last three years. I'd love David Cameron and the Tories to come to my house because I would give them a real ear bashing.’

He added: ‘The house technically has 2.5 bedrooms because one is a little box room, which is over the stair well with just enough room to fit a cot, but not really even for a single bed.

‘Ezekiel has the box room, Matilda is with us in our room, Ethan and Zackery are in the other bedroom and the two other girls are in the dining room.

‘The boys' bed is a 4'x5' bunk bed from IKEA. They do these cabin beds so we converted them into bunk beds. In the room they have a small wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a small desk and the bed.

‘The girls are in the old dining room at the back of the house. The wall has been knocked out and I have fixed the door.

‘We also have one bathroom upstairs, which is a bit of a nightmare with three teenagers. We can't even time it right when people go in there, it's a matter of chance.’

But one local wrote on a local newspaper website: ‘These scroungers are an absolute disgrace, I and many others have no sympathy, get some self-respect and get a job Kelvin to support your family you are a laughing stock of Oldham.’

First Choice Homes said: ‘We only manage 12 houses with five or more bedrooms, none of which are available in Failsworth.’

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‘The council said that the it'd cost £40,000, which I find a bit stupid because there's a new house that was built down the road and I asked the owner how much it cost. He said £35,000.

Can I have one twice as big for £70,000?

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Stopped reading at "i worked hard in the past".

I thought IVF was for people that struggled to have kids, not those that have several already.

Btw it was failsworth scum and their ilk that robbed my house on tuesday.

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Why do people outbreeding their space?

Working people would have to save to improve their home.

Not only that but he has also ensured he will never command a sufficient salary to support his burgeoning family. A lifetime on the rock 'n' roll beckons. It's good to see such academic promise headhunted by the dole office.

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‘I started to do an access course for nursing and completed it for the two of us, as Sarah kept getting pregnant when she tried to do the course herself!

and he wanted to be a doctor.......beggars belief

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Stopped reading at "i worked hard in the past".

I thought IVF was for people that struggled to have kids, not those that have several already.

Btw it was failsworth scum and their ilk that robbed my house on tuesday.

If he worked hard in the past, he can use his savings from that time to buy something better.

At some point the only way out of this tangled web of entitlement and taxation that is encouraging us all to act illegally or game the system like this family, is going to be the abandonment of all welfare payments. Including the state pension.

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First Choice Homes said: 'We only manage 12 houses with five or more bedrooms, none of which are available in Failsworth.'

You really had me going there until you mentioned the name of the town.

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‘I started to do an access course for nursing and completed it for the two of us, as Sarah kept getting pregnant when she tried to do the course herself!

and he wanted to be a doctor.......beggars belief

Aye, that was my thought too.

Neither of them are responsible enough or smart enough to work in medicine in any capacity.

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Seems to sum up NewLabourland perfectly. The sense of entitlement. The idea that things 'just happen' and can never be your fault. The claim to syndromes, illnesses and disabilities ('I found out I was dyslexic and university) to excuse yourself.

If you are able to get over the hump of feeling guilty at being a scrounger you really can get more than many stressed-out, overworked lower middle class families.

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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