Benefits Britain - Life on The Dole - Season One

More Brits are living off benefits today than at any other time since the establishment of the welfare state. Many claimants have spent longer on benefits than in work. Some have never known what it is to have a job and others have found that work simply does not pay. This new six-part documentary series lifts the lid on the reality of life on benefits in Britain.

Episode 1 - By The Sea


The first episode of the series meets some Brits claiming benefits in the seaside town of Great Yarmouth. With the majority of work in Yarmouth being seasonal, one in six people sign on and over 20% of children in the town are brought up in benefits families. One example is three-month-old Porschia, whose mum Leona and dad Lee had been claiming £150 a week but found their payments suddenly slashed to £90 when they failed to fill in the correct forms. They dream of a better life for Porschia: “She’ll grow up with morals,” says 19- year-old Leona.

Episode 2 - Me and My 22 Kids


Meet some of Britain's largest families, whose accommodation problems are proving a headache.

Episode 3 - Benefits, Babies and Jail


We visit South Yorkshire, which has a great number of long-term unemployed.

Episode 4 - 19 Kids and Couting the Cost


A teenage couple and a foster mum reveal the reality of living on benefits in Hull.

Episode 5


We hear the stories of some Roma Gypsies who survive on payments from the welfare state.

Episode 6


We revisit the families that first opened up to life on the dole last year on Channel 5.