Jobless mother-of-11 Heather Frost spends €1,100 on an exotic parrot
An unemployed mother-of-11 who is having an 'eco mansion' specially built for her family by the council splashed out on a £1,000 (€1,100) on an exotic parrot, reports have claimed.
Ms Frost, 36, is thought to have bought the macaw after the family moved out of their twin council house residence in Churchdown, Gloucestershire. The jobless mother had “struggled along” for five years in the two houses which had been knocked together for her by authorities.
The news comes as Ms Frost hit back against her critics, saying: "I'm not living in luxury like people think I am - I only wish."
She said she had been on benefits for six or seven years but insisted she was not "a scrounger".
The mother will be given a new £400,000 house near Tewkesbury to accomodate her family and large menagerie of pets, which includes three dogs, a cat, two guinea pigs and a rabbit, as well as the macaw.
According to an expert on parrots, the blue-and-gold bird, which is native to South America, costs around £1,000.
But Ms Frost said she did everything possible not to be a burden on the State and said she did not deserve the negative attention she had received since details of her 'eco mansion' emerged.
Her new home will comprise a 355sq ft kitchen and dining area and will be made from natural, locally-sourced materials.
Ms Frost told the Daily Mirror:"I've been on benefits for six or seven years but I'm not a scrounger. Being a mum is a full-time job.
"It's hard and it's hectic but you learn to cope. I plod along but now my life is being trashed - and it's gone too far.
"A mass murderer wouldn't get as much attention as I'm getting. One bloke said on Facebook he wanted to put all my kids in a house and gas them. It's just sickening."
She said she spends £250 a week on food and buys clothes for her children from Primark.
She added that she cannot afford holidays but her mother "bails her out" if she runs short of money. Her last trip away was a visit to Butlins in Minehead, costing £565, and a relative paid.
She said: "I usually spend £250 a week on food. We have everything large - Iceland do family meals. My kids eat anything, bangers and mash, lasagne, spaghetti and we always have a full Sunday roast.
"I go to Primark for kids' clothes but if people give me second-hand ones I will gladly take them. I'll take anything off anybody.
"The gas and electric costs £100 a week all year round."
Councillor Derek Davies, lead member for built environment, defended Tewkesbury council's decision to build the eco-friendly house earlier this week.
He said: "This is a great example of how we work with housing providers to ensure affordable housing is provided for all our residents' housing needs."