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Council Advised Single Mum To Quit Job Because She Would Be Better Off On Benefits

14/08/2014 16:53 | Updated 22 May 2015

Council advised single mum to quit £6-an-hour job because she would be better off on benefits

A local council advised a hard-working single mother to quit her £6-an-hour job – because she'd be better off on benefits.

An advisor for Basildon District Council told struggling mum Chelsea Press she would be £54 a week - more than £2,800 a year - better off if she signed on.

But Chelsea, 23, who has a two-year-old daughter, Lacey, said she was disgusted by the advice.

Chelsea is refusing to quit her 27 hours-a-week job because she wants to set a good example to her daughter - despite the fact that her lack of money means she has to wait for Lacey to finish eating before she knows if there will be food for her.

She told her local paper: "I was disgusted. The council adviser should never have said that to me.

"Telling some people they are better off on benefits would probably make them give up work.

"I love my job, but it is hard leaving Lacey when I am getting such little financial benefit from it.

"I don't feel any better off in work, but I really enjoy it.

"Lacey knows that I go to work and help the old people. I hope she is proud of me.

"I want to set her a good example and show her that you don't just sit at home expecting everything to be given to you on a plate."

Chelsea gets by each month on her £650 wages, £81.24 child benefit and £454 working tax credits and child tax credits.

Half her income goes on rent, council tax and nursery fees before the remainder goes on utility bills and food.

Chelsea says without free babysitting help from her sister she would be unable to hold down her job.

But if she didn't work Chelsea would receive £650 income support, £81.24 in child benefit and £280 in child tax payments, plus she would not have to pay rent or council tax.

As it is she loses out by £280 a month by sticking to her job as a carer for the elderly at Munday House care home, Basildon.

Deputy leader of Basildon District Council Phil Turner said: "Our officers give very good advice, so I am surprised to hear what she says.

"I will go back to officers to make it absolutely clear to all teams we have to get the message across."

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