Philip Schofield was left reeling on Wednesday morning after he met a mother of four who spent over £2,700 of benefit money to buy Christmas presents – including two bottles of Prosecco.
Deborah Hodge, who calls herself a ‘Novelist, Urban Poet, Artist, Stand up Comedian, Feminist, Mum of 4, Performance Artist’ on Twitter was a teacher until her partner had a serious breakdown after leaving the army and some of her children were taken out of school for ‘health issues’.
She also claimed to be writing a novel and to have been headhunted for a sales job.
Phil later read out a list of the benefits that she is on and how much money she receives, and as he questioned her on the bottles of Prosecco she bought with a £10 gift from the benefits office, he claimed that her actions had ‘got his back up’.
‘What you said, and it quite frankly got my back up, was that you got your ten pound Christmas bonus – which I’m not sure a lot of people on benefits realise they can have – and with that bonus you bought two bottles of Prosecco,’ he revealed.
‘You are entitled to do that,’ he said, before adding: ‘Then you said “cheers to the taxpayer for my extra ten pound gift” – and that is incendiary.’
But viewers at home were torn over whether they supported Deborah’s actions or blamed the government, with one person tweeting: ‘You know who’s to blame for that woman exploiting her benefits? The Government. The whole system needs an urgent overhaul.’
Deborah later admitted that she also used credit cards and loans to pay for Christmas and claimed that she ‘wanted my children to have the Christmas we used to have, as we used to have a lot of money’.
But she was sticking by her social media boasts that the taxpayers had paid for the bubbly, telling Phil and co-host Davina McCall: ‘It was a gift. I bought the Prosecco. I am grateful. We can’t go back in time, I stick by it.
‘I’m proud to be caught by the benefits system. We can live a little, not a lot.’