Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Jobless mother of 11 'aims to work'

The six-bedroom 'mansion' being built for mother of 11 Heather Frost at Northway, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
The six-bedroom 'mansion' being built for mother of 11 Heather Frost at Northway, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

A jobless mother of 11 who made headlines after it emerged she was getting a newly built "mansion" provided by a council said she "would love to go out and work".

Heather Frost, 36, who has not worked for years, said she had intended to set up her own business but fell ill with cancer two years ago.

News that the grandmother is to move from her current home in Churchdown, near Gloucester, to a purpose-built six bedroom house in Tewkesbury has sparked fury.

Ms Frost also hit back at claims that she uses her state benefits to pay for a horse, which is stabled near her home - saying it was her teenage daughter's pet and she met all the bills.

The grandmother of two, who first fell pregnant at 14, said she "understood" why other people who go out to work might be angry that her large family is supported by the taxpayer.

"I'd love to go out and work," she told ITV's Daybreak. "I took a business plan two years ago, I think it was, to try and open my own shop and do my own business but I fell ill. I'd love to come off benefits and support my children myself but there is help out there to help families."

She sat in Daybreak's London TV studio to say she had never demanded a new home for her nine daughters, two sons and grandchildren - and it was Tewkesbury Borough Council that decided to move her.

The new house is being built in Northway, Tewkesbury, after the council sold a plot of land to the Severn Vale Housing Association to build 13 affordable houses, one of which will be allocated to Ms Frost. Her current home on Innsworth Lane will be reallocated to two families. But the mother of 11 said she may not now move into the new home - described as a "mansion" by the TaxPayers' Alliance - because of the "hassle".

Robert Oxley, from the TaxPayers' Alliance, criticised the decision to build the family a new home. "It's scandalous that so much time and taxpayers' money is being spent on one custom-built mansion," he said.

Councillor Derek Davies, lead member for built environment at Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: "We were able to sell land owned by the borough council to Severn Vale for them to develop 13 affordable homes, including this unit to meet the particular needs of Ms Frost and her family. By providing this larger affordable property, the two houses currently occupied by the family will be available for other families in need."

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