Gypsies On Benefits & Proud

Gypsies On Benefits & Proud

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Documentary examining the lives of Roma gypsies who've come to the UK from Romania to milk the benefit system. The programme gives three gypsy families a unique opportunity to tell their own personal stories.

We follow father-of-three Ion and five fellow immigrants as they travel to the UK in January 2014, just days after work restrictions on Romanians were lifted. Ion is shameless about why he's moving to London: he wants to make £40,000 from benefits to help him build a new house for his family, back in the rural Romanian gypsy village where he grew up.

Next we meet Katarina, a larger-than-life Slovakian Roma. She has eleven children and eleven grandchildren in and around an estate in Rotherham. In the seven years, she's been here, Katarina has worked a handful of days. She lives with her out-of-work husband Peter and their four youngest kids – all teenagers. Everything is paid for by benefits and most of their grown up children also rely on the welfare state.

Finally Viorel is possibly one of the most remarkable gypsies who's come to live in Britain. The 25-year-old lost both legs in an accident when he was seven years old. Now, he gets around on a skateboard. In Romania, he had to beg to get by. In Nottingham, he's enjoying a much better life, thanks to British benefits.