‘I can’t afford school uniform’ Single mum says £19k benefits is not enough

She is slammed for smoking and buying takeaways though

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A single mum-of-five has spoken out about her struggle on benefits and has hit back at those that criticised her lifestyle.

Emma Lawlor is featured on Channel 5 show ‘On Benefits: Breadline Brummies’ and bemoans the fact that she cannot afford school uniform for her children.

This is despite the 27-year-old receiving £18,200-a-year in state handouts.

Emma says that she may still smoke and buy takeaways, when she “can’t face cooking”, but she deserves every penny of her benefits and should be given more.

Critics were quick to pour scorn on her claims but the Wolverhampton based mother has hit back at them.

She said: “I am not doing anything illegal or wrong.

“I have to look after my kids.

“I love them all and I have to treat them.

“It’s stressful looking after my five kids on my own.

“I do buy a few takeaways for them because sometimes I just can’t face cooking and yes I do smoke but I can’t cope otherwise.”

She added: “Some people might look at me and think, ‘She’s a single mum, she’s scrounging’ – but I’m not.

“The money that I get is for my children. It goes on clothes, it goes on food, nappies, baby wipes, none of it goes on me. It goes on bus fares and new clothes for the kids.

“I’m just doing the best by my kids.

“It can be really difficult being a single mum, but I get on with it.”

Emma has a three-bedroom council house with children Reece, eight, Skye, six, Kadee-Maye, five, Kenzie, three and Tori, one.

She did admit though: “I never thought I’d have this many kids to be honest with you.

“I love them though, wouldn’t change them for the world.”

Emma revealed the difficulties of running a house as a single mum.

She said: “As you can imagine it’s a lot of washing with five kids.

“My tumble dryer is on all the time. I do go through a lot of electric and washing powder.”

She said that her benefits do not stretch far enough and school uniform is something that has to be overlooked as she tries to keep her family afloat.

During the programme, Emma reveals the reasons why she split from her partner: “We’ve decided it’s not working out and I’m putting the kids first. I do get on with him still though.

“He still comes and sees the kids.”

She also admitted that she gets extra cash from her ex but says that she keeps that money separate.

Emma said: “I’m just making that money last me, trying to prioritise the stuff that I need.”

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor