A benefits claimant who bought a luxury television will ‘star’ in a TV documentary about unemployed Portsmouth people tonight.
The Channel 5 show Portsmouth on Payouts’ features 27-year-old Chris Coombs, who claims £145 a fortnight from the Government.
He tells programme makers that he has been on-and-off Jobseekers Allowance for six years, that it is hard to find work in his home city, and that there should be more opportunities for unemployed people.
The documentary shows Chris, who lives with his 60-year-old father Mike, spending much of his days riding his motorbike and collecting energy drink cans.
In the documentary he is pictured at a cash machine which shows his bank balance totals just £4.53. ‘It’s not going to last two minutes, really,’ he says.
But the Daily Mail reports that Chris decided to spend his benefit payouts and some cash from occasional jobs on a smart television, which he describes as ‘the life and soul’ of his bedroom.
I’ll clean toilets if I have to, a job’s a job. I’ll take anythingChris Coombs
He is reported as saying: ‘It’s LG, smart, 4K, ultra HD. One of the newest LGs out, linked to the Internet,’ he said. ‘I can do everything on there. You name it, it does it - apart from make a cup of tea. The TV was £1,700 and something.’
The Mail says that as Chris couldn’t afford to buy the expensive device outright he purchased it through a weekly payment store. It will take him three years to pay off the full amount and any interest incurred.
He is quoted as saying: ‘I’m paying £20 a week. The television actually came from Brighthouse. It’s the only way people on benefits can afford things because it’s weekly, it’s cheaper,’ he said.
His father Mike is reported to have been claiming benefits for more than 10 years.
The documentary shows that they have put some home comforts get put on hold - they have been unable to repair the damage to their kitchen following a recent fire.
The Mail reports that with the cooker out of action, Chris shuns food in favour of a liquid diet, downing several cans of Monster Energy drink every day
He even has a tattoo of the brand’s green, gothic-like ‘M’ shape on his right hand
He is pictured riding his motorbike, which he describes as his ‘baby.’
‘It’s just under £7 to fill up and then that will last me four or five days depending on how much I use it,’ he says.
As for being unemployed, he says: ‘Getting a job would be my number one goal. In town the only things are retail and shop assistants, hopefully there will be something available.
‘I’ll clean toilets if I have to, a job’s a job. I’ll take anything. There’s more shops closing down than opening up so it’s just a case of finding the ones that are available.’
‘You’ve got no money, there’s nothing you can do, obviously through having no money,’ he said.
‘They don’t give you enough opportunities to do work experience as such, like a two week work experience like you do at school, it might help, but they’re never going to know unless they try it.’
‘I’m a people person, I get on with anyone really. My dream job would be a full time job, any sort of full time job.’
Benefits: Portsmouth on Payouts is on Channel 5 at 9pm tonight.