Benefit chasing mum-of-eight Marie Buchan who sparked national outrage when she said her £26,000-a-year hand-outs were not enough yesterday insisted – “I’m not a scrounger.”
The 31-year-old blonde mum used to rake in a whopping £30,264-a-year in child tax credits, child benefits as well as living in a large semi-detached house courtesy of the taxpayer.
But after the Government capped benefits for families to £26,000-a-year Marie moaned she could not afford to make ends meet and even demanded to be moved into a sprawling five-bedroom house for her brood.
Marie, who has eight children with former partner Clifton Bibb Anytime, 34, insisted: “I’m no scrounger.”
She even claimed she was entitled to the state hand-outs because she ‘worked’ looking after her kids – aged two-months to 12 – up to 21 hours a day.
She whined: “I always wanted a big family and to be a mother but I never wanted to be in this position.
“I try my very best to buy the kids clothes and to give them the best I can, but it is a constant battle.
“I would like to see MPs survive on this amount of money while trying to dress and feed eight children.
“Life on benefits is not easy. I have always hated the stigma around it and I hate to claim them.
“People already judge me for having eight children. Some of the people around here just refer to me as ‘her with eight kids’ but I love my children dearly and would not change anything.
“I get up around 6am, but I don’t usually get to bed until 3am.
“I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, but I drink a lot of coffee and I think that’s what keeps me going.”
Marie lives with her eight children, Tia, 12, Leah, 11, Latoya, eight, Joshua, seven, Alisha, five, Mikayla, three, Amelia, two, and two-month-old Olivia, in a £210,000 three-bedroom house in the leafy suburb of Selly Oak, Birmingham.
She and Bibb, who moved out of the property earlier this year, got together when she was 14 years old and had their first child, Tia Marie, when she was 19.
While Marie looked after the kids claiming child tax credits, Bibb worked and by 2011 the couple had seven children together.
Their eighth child, daughter Olivia, was born in September but now Bibb only sees the kids at weekends.
Marie added: “We just can’t live together and we have had an on-off relationship over the years.”
Marie now claims she is #82-a-week worse off under the benefit cap which has left her owing money to the Bourneville Village Trust Housing Association who own her property.
She said: “In terms of food shopping I try to go to ten different shops to get the best deals that week.
“It takes longer to find the offers but it’s cheaper and I cook things from scratch.
“I go to the market and they do a half-price sale on meat. I make up batches of stew and goat curry and it makes it much cheaper.”
Every day the family-of-nine go through an astonishing six pints of milk, and a loaf of bread.
She said: “I line up the school uniforms early in the morning and we have four different schools and nurseries to get to.
“I try to stay organised, but I also have some really good friends who have helped me through.
“Even homework and bedtime reading is tough. We usually do it in a queue system, but it’s not easy.
“By the time I have done the housework and prepared for the next day it’s 3am.”
But despite her long days, Marie has been collecting Christmas presents for her kids by scouring eBay and charity shops.
She added: “I don’t know how I would survive without eBay.
“The sofa we sit on was #100, somebody gave us their old TV and the Christmas tree was second-hand.
“Christmas is always tough and I have already had a loan shark at the door. He said: ‘Christmas is coming, how are you going to manage?’
“I told him I wasn’t interested, but it is very difficult when money is so tight and I can see why people turn to them.”
Yesterday she and a pal left for a day’s Christmas shopping.
Her friend, who refused to be named, said: “It’s not fair on her or her kids, it’s makes no difference if you work in this country – we can’t fight the Government.
“Of course they give out too many benefits, benefits are ridiculous but why should her children starve?
“Marie would work if she wanted to but she has to look after the kids. It is her right to have as many kids as she wants, it’s a free country.
“She should be applauded for bringing up so many lovely kids on her own, not labelled a scrounger.
“We are going Christmas shopping but Marie isn’t going to buy herself anything, all her money goes on the kids.
“She’s the most generous person you could ever meet.
“Her relationship with her children’s father is really good, he doesn’t live here but they seem him all the time.”
The trouble is that if the government made her an exception to the £500 capping rule the a lot of others may well start having big families in order to get the same benefits. Just like a lot of girls get pregnant in order to live on benefit, according to the news items at times anyway.