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One big happy family: Scrounging grandmother's pride at daughters' teenage pregnancies

By LUKE SALKELD - More by this author » Last updated at 00:56am on 4th September 2007

In many households, a pregnancy at 14 would generate a family crisis.

But for grandmother Pauline Rees, who has faced that reality not once, but twice, it is a matter only for pride and joy.

"The more the merrier," says the unemployed 45-year-old mother of five.

"When my children grew up I felt so sad.

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Teenage mum and her beneft scrounging mum

Hands full: From left, Sky, with Johnpaul, 17 months, Mrs Rees with Comnoriee, five months, and Gillian with Cameron, five months

"I wanted babies in my house again. I adore kids.

"It was really wonderful when the girls told me they were pregnant.

"I wasn't a bit angry. Now we're one big happy family."

Her daughters Gillian and Sky now have two children each, despite still being in their teens.

And like their mother, they and their families all live on benefits.

Gillian, 19, who is married to Barry Hutchinson, the father of her five-month-old second child Cameron, insists she has no regrets about having a family so young and says that her two youngsters are a welcome distraction from watching television.

"I've wanted kids since I was 12," she said.

"I was sick of babysitting other people's and wanted one of my own.

"Gavin, my boyfriend at the time, and I weren't using contraception, and I was aware I might get pregnant. But I knew I'd be happy if I did."

She continued: "I never found it hard being a young mum.

"Both my children were good babies, so I always got enough sleep.

"And I wasn't worried about it changing my lifestyle. I never did anything but stay in and watch TV anyway.

"There's nothing to do around here, so having kids keeps me busy.

"I feel good about bringing life into the world."

Her 16-year-old sister lives with her boyfriend Jamie Roberts and their children, 17-month-old Johnpaul and Connorlee, who is five months.

The couple say their responsibilities as parents have made them more grown up, despite the fact that they found things difficult to begin with.

"It was hard. Johnpaul cried a lot during the night so I was very tired," Sky told Closer magazine.

"But I coped. I had so much support from mum. She helped me to feed him and send him off to sleep. She was a lifesaver.'

Mr Roberts said: "I was unsure about being a dad when I first found out Sky was pregnant, but now I love it.

"Sometimes it's tough, but Sky and I make sure that we talk everything through, and we're closer than ever now."

Sky has a council house next door to her mother in Tonypandy, South Wales, while her big sister has moved away from the area.

The teenage mothers, their partners and Mrs Rees all rely on benefits to get by, at an annual cost to the taxpayer of £34,000, not including their free accommodation.

Both couples receive £160 a week in child benefit and tax credits, as well as £180 a fortnight in jobseekers' allowance, giving them a tax free income of £13,000 a year.

Mrs Rees herself receives jobseekers' allowance and a small amount of child tax credit as Sky is still under 18, giving her an estimated-income of £8,000.

Gillian insists she did not get pregnant for financial benefit.

"It was always about the kids," she said. "My husband is looking for work but there's not much about.

"Even so, we always make sure the kids have everything they need before spending anything on ourselves"

Mrs Rees admits that her own approach to parenting has not been the strictest.

She gave birth to her first child at the age of 17 but the infant died of cot death.

She had her family with two different absent fathers and now has six grandchildren.

"I warned Gillian and Sky about underage sex, but they obviously didn't pay any attention to me," she said.

"I didn't have a clue they were having sex so young. But both my girls have proved that they're good mums." A full version of the family's interview appears in the latest edition of Closer, on sale today.

39 people have commented on this story so far. Tell us what you think below.

Keep `em coming, the more you have the more benefits you get...
- Sue W, UK

Although it's great that Mrs. Rees is being supportive of her own daughters becoming mothers at such a young age, it's maddening that the lot of them rely on benefits provided at the taxpayer's expense.
- Sara, USA

What do you expect like mother like daughters, who knows what the future holds for our country?
- Saheed Bakare, Manchester,

would sterilise the lot of them.
- Michael Rigby, Blackburn, England.

Can you say white trash?
- Lex, San Juan, PR USA

All child benefit should be stopped.
- Scarlett O'Hara, Pontefract

This is one of the evidences of our sick society. The irresponsible parents should receive no financial rewards for their actions. It certainly isn't anyone else's job to pay for their children outside their immediate family.
- Sharon, Oldham

I am totally against abortion and good for your daughter's not aborting their babies.
But to encourage teenage parenting is wrong, what kind of future is in store for these kids? Maybe adoption is the best road for those babies.
Learn once from your mistakes and hopefully you don't repeat them over and over again. The welfare system is abused enough.
- Dee Dee, USA

I can't believe how blasé the whole family is about this, if it were Canada people would be disgusted that a mother would be happy that their child had a baby at 14 and then more before she's even 17 and they're living off unemployment to boot. I would be outraged if I were part of their family.
- Melanie, Ottawa, Canada

Sickening, absolutely sickening, well done Labour you and your cronies have encouraged people like this to be scroungers - what good are they to Britain, absolutely nothing.
- Karen, West Midlands, GB

In my book: Sterilisation, or loss of all benefits. Their choice.
- David Bourke, Rochester, UK.

No doubt she 'warned' them if they didn't get a 'wriggle on' the law might change and there would be no more free council houses, bags of money and jobs for life! What a bunch of useless trash. Another bunch of feral children in the making no doubt. God help us all!
- Rachel Peck, Newcastle upon Tyne

Would she be thrilled of them all popping out if they needed to work to support them? We have this problem in the USA. My working hubby and I can only afford 2 children, but the taxes we pay support non workers with very large families.
- Rebecca, Ohio, USA

They should all be neutered. What a set of parasites.
 Adam, Leeds, UK


Makes me proud to be British. I can't quite find the words to express how I feel to see such deserving individuals being showered in cash when my dear Cambridge-educated, council house born Dad (who never took a sick day in his entire working life), lies dying in hospital from MRSA.
What a country.
- David N, Leeds, UK

Nice to know where my hard earned tax goes to. Clearly I have wasted my life getting educated and working!
- Nav, London

Yeah I bet she is happy for her daughters, proper chips off the old block. Like mother like daughter, good way not to have to work and get money for nothing and benefit from the taxpayers' hard work. They will probably get a house on top of that as well.
- Rotweiler73, Metz, France

This is what we celebrate in this society now. Western civilisation is doomed. If it were up to me, people wanting dole money would have to be sterilized first.
- Lou, NJ, USA

More scroungers who will live off the taxpayers for life. I'm sick of supporting these feckless, selfish, workshy people.
- Diana, England

That's absolutely barbaric!
- Kristal, California, USA

Am I being particularly thick or something? If Sky has two children of her own, a council house of her own, and is receiving her own benefits then why is her scrounging mother still able to claim child tax credit for her?
- Vick, London

Have sex as young as possible and have illegitimate children. No job? No income? No house? No medical care? No food? No worry... the taxpayers will foot the bill.
- Mary, Atlanta, Georgia USA

What's this world coming to? Mummy doesn't mind that her teenage daughters have popped out some kids out of wedlock; her good ol' friends the taxpayers will be happy to pick up the tab! Now these kids are a WELCOME DISTRACTION FROM THE TELLY? Why doesn't she have a job herself? Deadbeats.
- Nikki, Texas, USA

"I feel good about bringing life into the world" - The rest of the country doesn't share your sentiments.
- Jaime, London

Oh, I'm so fed up with working and paying too much tax to look after these lazy good for nothing breeding machines. Time to stop all the tax free money going to these useless people. After all my A* student teenager will get nothing from EMA to stay on at 6th form, whilst my taxes go to those wasters I also have to dig in my pocket for my child's further education.
- Jan, England

"'The more the merrier,' says the unemployed 45-year-old mother of five."
Sure, as long as hardworking taxpayers support them 100%
So many people like this just don't seem to get that if everyone had their attitude, there would be no public pot for them to live off. If you can't afford to have children, you shouldn't expect the state to pay for them.
- Dave, Bristol, UK

And this is why the government can't afford to cure illnesses and permit the Alzheimer's drug. Those people should be made to do community service, since it's the working community keeping them idle.
- Lyndsey, UK

She continued: "I never found it hard being a young mum".
Of course she didn't! The hard working taxpayers made sure that she didn't need to lift a finger to support them.
- Nigel, Doncaster, England

Stop their welfare payments today! They can get a job and put their kids into a creche while they work, just as I have to!
- Angry Mum, Surrey, England

I can't believe what I am reading here. "[Gillian's] two youngsters are a welcome distraction from watching television", and "[Sky] never did anything but stay in and watch TV anyway. There's nothing to do around here, so having kids keeps [her] busy." And these girls are "more grown up"? Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
- Fm, Canada

If they want to have children, first get a job, get married, and stop scrounging off the taxpayer!
- Elizabeth Kent, London, England

Why are they paid not to work, but to reproduce themselves? Social Services should take the children away, as these people are clearly irresponsible parents. Why are they getting jobseeker's allowance, they don't look like they are trying to find jobs to me!
- Bernadette Collins, Canterbury, England

At the next elections, I will vote for whichever party will put a stop to women having children on welfare. The welfare should be stopped, they can adopt the children out, or get a job and use child-care whilst they work. Plenty of other people have had to do it! Any woman under 18 years who has a baby should be made to adopt it out. Why should we pay taxes for their promiscuous behaviour?
- Sc, Manchester, England

Disgusting is the word. To live off of hard working people's taxes.
- Faqi, London, UK

Words fail me.
- Barbara, US

Are you kidding me? This is pathetic. You should not bring children into the world unless you can afford to pay your own way. How dare they expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their irresponsible behaviour.
- Andrea, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Stop supporting these scroungers.
- Frank, Bournemouth UK

How can you reason with people like this? So the woman is so selfish that she couldn't give her daughters any further aspirations than having children when they were still children themselves, just because she wants more babies in the house.
- Cae, London

Get out your checkbooks, people...
- Chris Long, Columbus, GA, USA

What do you expect like mother like daughters, who knows what the future holds for our country?
- Saheed Bakare, Manchester, UK

Although it's great that Mrs. Rees is being supportive of her own daughters becoming mothers at such a young age, it's maddening that the lot of them rely on benefits provided at the taxpayer's expense.
- Sara, USA

Keep `em coming, the more you have the more benefits you get...
- Sue W, UK