Jobless Couple Expecting Their 12TH Baby

23/03/2011 13:33 | Updated 22 May 2015

A jobless couple living in a £1,200-a-month house paid for by taxpayers is expecting a 12th child, it has been reported.

Gary Bateman, 46, and his partner Joanne Sheppard, 36, moved this year to a new privately-rented five-bedroom home in Staple Hill, Bristol.

Mother-of-11 Ms Sheppard became pregnant again shortly after moving into the new property and is due to give birth at the end of the year, The Sun reported.

Referring to the pregnancy, Mr Bateman told the paper: "It was an accident. Something happened that wasn't supposed to.

"We've enough for a football team."

The couple complained last year that their previous three-bedroom council house in Yate, near Bristol, was too small for their large family.

South Gloucestershire Council officials visited in October and agreed they were suffering from overcrowding and needed somewhere bigger to live.

But the main local social housing association, Merlin Housing Society, had no five-bedroom properties, so they were told to find a new home on the private market to be paid for by housing benefit, a council spokesman said.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It's disgraceful that this family is being given more than taxpayers earn. Our benefits system needs real reform."

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said: "Our input was to do an assessment. They said they were overcrowded. We have a statutory obligation if there are children involved to have a look.

"In this particular instance it was assessed that the children were suffering from overcrowding. Therefore we have a statutory duty under legislation laid down by central Government to help them get rehoused."

According to The Sun, Bateman has been claiming incapacity benefit for a bad back - despite taking part in the off-road biking sport of motocross 18 months ago.

Joanne first got pregnant at 17 and has not worked since. She has children by three men. Her offspring with Bateman range from a son of 17 to a baby of eight months.

What do you think?

Do we have a duty to house this family or are they pushing the system to the limit?

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