For most hard-working couples, the decision to have a second, third, or maybe fourth child will inevitably raise the question: ‘Can we afford to?’
Which is why the subject of large families living off welfare is often so incendiary.
Our investigation, published by The Sun today, shows 40,000 families living on state handouts are now claiming child benefit for five or more children.
It includes 10 families living off welfare while claiming for 13 children each.
That’s a brood almost twice as big as famous fictional family ‘The Waltons’.
And it’s costly to the taxpayer, with these 40,000 large families alone estimated to cost £150 million a year.
So no wonder tempers can flare.
Mum-of-ten Moira Pearce told The Sun how she receives £30,000 a year from the state, picking up £600 every week in child benefit, tax credits and income support.
Her handouts add up to nearly double the average wage for a soldier, The Sun reports.
But as Robert Oxley of the Taxpayers’ Alliance says: “When you are in work and you want another child you consider the financial cost.
“When you are on benefits, you automatically get extra money. We are just asking the question, ‘Does that work?’
“Families on welfare should face the same choices as working families. Taxpayers can’t afford to subsidise a lifestyle they don’t live themselves.”
We’ve printed our full Freedom of Information request to the Department of Work and Pensions and their response below, so you can see how many families claim for how many children.
You can also see which types of jobless benefits they receive.
The DWP has refused to differentiate between ‘nil’ or ‘negligible’ in their table making it impossible to know for sure how many families claim for more than 13 children.
And despite an appeal, they are refusing to change this stance.
But previous newspaper reports show some families claim for up to 16 children.
Following the article in The Sun, our figures were followed up the next day by the Daily Mail here. Their article reproduced the table from our FOI response, and within a day it had attracted more than 1,000 comments.