Benefits winners’ Maggie and Gavin Flisher’s four-bedroom Maidstone home keeps tabloid writers in muck
On July 12, Kent Online reported on them:
Family of eight sharing one bedroom in Park Wood in Maidstone beg for bigger council house
On July 17, the Express got wind of the story:
‘Super fertile’ jobless parents-of-six on £27,000 benefits demand a bigger council house
While the Express focused on 26-year-old Maggie’s ovaries, the Sun counted rooms:
Jobless couple with SIX KIDS demands four-bed home
Eight into four seems a tight fit. But better than eight into one.
The Sun adds:
Maggie Flisher and husband Gavin have not worked a single day between them since the birth of their first child in 2005.
They receive a total of £27,000 a year in benefits for their family – the average national income is just £26,000.
But, then, six children is not the average family. It is a very large family.
And then we hear Mrs Flisher’s lament:
“Why can’t they just give me a three-bedroom? It would be a damned-sight better than this. The four-bed homes are like gold dust. I’ve been told I’m a main priority but then they are given to someone else.”
So. She’s not demanding four bedrooms. She’s asking for three but hoping for four.
As ever with such stories, there is fun is in looking at the children’s names: Lacieann, eight, Elektra, six, Gavin Jnr, five, Lilyrose, 2, Martinjames and Paris Nicola, three-month old twins.
Ever the kids’ names are cramped. Laceiann, Lilyrose and Martinjames haven’t enough room to swing a hyphen.
Carole Malone then tells her Daily Mirror readers:
If ever there was a family that sums up everything that’s wrong with “Benefits Britain” it’s Maggie and Gavin Flisher.
For 10 years they’ve been living in a squalid one-bedroomed flat. Neither of them works yet still, they’ve churned out six kids in eight years all of whom have to live in the most brutally appalling conditions because their parents can’t be bothered to take proper precautions.
If they were Catholics who did not use birth control would Carole take the same tone? And Kent Online told us:
Mrs Flisher, who has six siblings, said she had not intended to have so many children – but had been let down time and time again by various different contraceptions. She has even asked to be sterilised, but doctors refused, saying she was too young.
Carole says the family gets £25,00 a year from the State. The Sun said it was £27,000. Carole adds:
They reckon it’s all Maidstone Council’s fault because they haven’t given them the four-bed house they insist they deserve.
Not deserve. Need.
Carole then says Maggie’s claim at super-fertility is “bullshit“, that the parents are guilty of “child abuse” – presumably Dear Carole thinks the six children would be better off living in care homes while their parents are imprisoned – and that they all live in “filth“. For an untrained medic who has never met the Flishers, Carol can tells lot from a few photos of the family posing for sympathy and council help in their too-small home.
Carole then puts the tin lid of her story by inviting us to hate the kids:
They’ll grow up to be just like their parents – state dependant for ever.
Maybe they can be sterilised before they mate in Carole’s world where having a family is a form of national service?
In the Express. Loe McKinsky sees this family as the epitome of a tend:
The mother of this subsidised brood, Maggie Flisher, claims she cannot work because of mental health problems. Her husband Gavin argues that he has to stay at home to look after the family. But far from showing any gratitude they are indignant at the way they have been treated…
This offensive saga embodies everything that is wrong with the system. Most couples in work do not have more children than they feel they can afford. But the Flishers have no such sense of personal responsibility and keep on reproducing regardless of the consequences, knowing that the state will pick up the tab.
Indeed, in the insane world of welfare Britain, indiscriminate reproduction brings its own financial gain in that every extra child leads to more benefits. In the case of the Flishers, they are estimated to be making around £1,400 a month from their offspring through child benefits and child tax credits.
In the insane world of tabloid hacks, one family’s story is symptomatic of an entire demographic.
Back to the original story in the Kent Online, then:
Now the hard-working mum, who moved into the property alone in 2003, says she fights a never-ending battle trying to keep the home clean and tidy.
And then we get to hear from the council:
A Maidstone council spokesman said: “Housing associations do not accept nominations for houses where applicants would be classed as overcrowded so applicants with a four-bed need are advised not to bid on three-bed houses. Social housing is scarce and bids made through the Kent Homechoice website are considered by the waiting time on the housing register. Where families have a need for large homes, they are offered support with looking for a house in the private sector and given information on a mutual exchange swap.”
So. Are there any council houses for the family who must move into a four-bed home, if they move at all?
Social housing provider Golding Homes has 176 four bed homes, one five-bed home and six-bed home on its books. All are occupied.
But there is news. The Mail reports today:
Jobless couple with six children handed four-bedroom home to go with £27,000-a-year benefits after claiming their council flat wasn’t big enough
It wasn’t big enough.
Tom Gardner writes:
A jobless couple with six children living on benefits have been given a spacious four-bedroom home after complaining their council flat was too small.
Says Mrs Flisher:
“We are very pleased to be in… I had to pay for the move myself, so it took us three weeks.”
We hear from a Maidstone Borough Council spokesman:
“We maintain a housing register for homes offered by Kent Homechoice. People can apply. They bid for a house and some are successful. All our social housing is in short supply and there is only a small number of four-bedroom houses.”
So. There are four-bedroom homes for those who need them, such as the Flisher family.
And about those £27,000 in benefits?
In July, the family said they received an annual total of £22,900 in benefits, including £540 a month in jobseekers allowance; child benefit of £85 every week; and child tax credit of £1,000 a month. They have also been receiving housing benefit of £270-a-month to pay the rent on their flat
So. The child tax credit they get like everyone with a child does. Knock that off, and what do they take in benefits? Just under £13,000.
On September 18, the BBC reported that the failed attempt to upgrade the NHS computer system has cost the taxpayer… £9.8bn.
Give til it hurts, dear taxpayer.
The debate should not be on who claims but whether the system is working for any of us..?