A family of six have been evicted from their council home after they were found spending money on takeaways despite being behind in their rent.

Daniel Eyers and his heavily-pregnant partner Lucrezia Worrell were made homeless after council officials discovered the couple were spending £40 a week on takeout meals.

After falling into rent arrears, Medway Council investigated why the couple were struggling and discovered the large amounts being spent on takeaways, the Mirror reports.

Mr Eyers, 32, said he cannot work because he needs to take his children, aged five, four and two-year-old twins, to school, while Miss Worrell, 27, is set to give birth any day.

He argues the takeaways are simply a weekly treat and do not affect his ability to pay the rent.

Daniel Eyers and Lucrezia Worrell evicted from their council home after spending cash on takeaways while in rent arrears
Daniel Eyers and Lucrezia Worrell evicted from their council home after spending cash on takeaways while in rent arrears

He said: "We like to treat the children once a week to a takeaway. They don't usually get much, so it's a nice treat.

"It was my son's birthday the other month and we spent £45 but were told by the council we were spending money on non-essentials rather than paying rent."

After viewing the family’s bank statements, Medway Council officials declared they had made themselves "intentionally homeless" by spending so much money on takeaways.

 

They had left a property in Chatham, Kent, in April after receiving a section 21 notice, meaning their landlord wanted to end the tenancy.

They ended up in emergency accommodation in Gillingham but were recently told by the council their case for housing in Medway was being reviewed.

Mr Eyers says he's been offered a house in Tyne and Wear, by the early help team, but wants to stay in Medway.

Watch: New powers for tenants being introduced

He said: "I've been a Medway resident my whole life. It was hard enough being moved from Chatham to Gillingham as my children go to school in Chatham.

"I couldn't get a job as it meant my children would miss out on school, as I have to drive them there every day."

But the council insists the family has not been abandoned and is still offering support.

Universal Credit (UC) replaces six existing benefits – Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit – with a single payment.

When was it introduced?

It was rolled out gradually across the country, starting in pilot areas in 2013. From July 2018, around 2million people already receiving the old benefits were moved onto UC, which is due for completion in 2023. It was rolled out in Hull from December 12, 2018.

Who will be affected?

Among those being moved to UC will be about 1 million working families and 745,000 people unable to work because of long-term illness or disability.

Will there be a wait for payments?

UC is paid in arrears, and the first payment is not made until at least five weeks after a claim is lodged. Claimants can apply for advance payments to avoid hardship while they wait.

Why is it being introduced?

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said that when UC is fully rolled out, it will deliver £8 billion of benefits to the UK economy per year.

 

Mark Breathwick, head of strategic housing at Medway Council, said: "Emergency accommodation is provided to people where appropriate."

Bailiffs turned up at the house last week while Daniel and Lucrezia were on the school run.

The family is currently staying at Daniel's mother's home with no new home on the horizon.

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