A jobless couple living on disability was recently given a seven-room home by the government.
44-year-old Peter Smith and his wife, 40-year-old Sam Smith, allegedly receive nearly $53,000 a year in government benefits, and recently acquired the home to accommodate their family of 12. The house, which was converted from two separate flats, features a ground floor extension made to ensure that the couple and their 10 children have enough kitchen and living space. While the council declined to comment on the house’s price tag, a construction expert said that he believed the total cost “would be at least €150,000 [$175,447].”
Peter has been the caretaker for his wife since she was diagnosed with a condition that causes a curvature of the spine. The couple made headlines four years ago when they claimed to have been receiving over $100,000 in government assistance. Smith said that although his family receives benefits, he was preparing for a new job.
News of the Smith’s government gift didn’t sit well with the neighbors, according to Smith. “I’ve had so many people going on about us being a big family and all the rest of it,” he said. “The kids are getting it all at school as well.” Some local residents were reportedly “outraged” that the flats were given to Smith and his family, seeing as the average wait time was nearly three-and-a-half years.
Locals said that numerous working families were denied the same flats that eventually became the family’s new home. One neighbor told the Daily Mail that when one of the two flats became available in 2013, the other tenant – a single mother – was relocated to accommodate the Smith family.
Jonathan Isabay, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said he believes taxpayers should be informed of how much the house costs.
“Working families think long and hard about whether they can support a larger family, and those on benefits should be no different,” Isabay said. “Taxpayers deserve to know how much the renovation has cost and whether it could have been done more cost-effectively. The expense will stick in the throat.”
Source: Daily Mail, dailymail.co.uk