A Beckenham mum-of-three has been left reeling after two women working at Bromley Jobcentre accidentally left her a voicemail bad-mouthing jobseekers with “foreign-sounding” names.

Cecilia Garcia, 44, has been getting help to support her and her children during a tough separation.

Last Friday (July 29) Mrs Garcia checked her messages and found that Ann Goode, a member of staff at the Bromley branch, had left her a message asking her to call back on Monday.

However, when Ms Goode finished leaving the message, she didn’t hang up properly and continued to have an “offensive” conversation with a colleague, starting off with a discussion of how much she receives in benefits.


Unaware that they are being recorded, the women are heard saying: “That’s almost a thousand pounds a month – 12,000 a year.

“This is Cecilia Garcia.

“None of them are English names.”

After a pause, the conversation continues.

“I don’t … I just don’t … why are we running around for these people?

“Do you know I resent even doing this work because if I had a person who said I really want a job, I want to go on your case load, yes, all the time, every day of the week.

“But not some scrounging bastard that’s popping out kids like pigs.”

Laughing, she adds to her colleague: “I’m going to get very politically incorrect this afternoon."

The second voice can be heard saying: “You are, aren’t you? And I don’t blame you one bit.”

Mrs Garcia says the shock of hearing government employees speak about her this way made her physically ill.

She told News Shopper: “I got sick, I was so upset over the weekend.


“It is really offensive all the things that she says on the voicemail.

“And it sounds like the other person totally agrees with her.

“The fact that they say things like ‘oh they aren’t even English names’ – this goes beyond everything, saying I pop out kids like pigs.

“I have dual nationality, we did everything right, I’m not illegal.

“She shouldn’t express this about people from other backgrounds.”

Mrs Garcia, a dual Mexican-British citizen, separated from her husband in November and has had to turn to the benefits system to keep herself afloat, even though she does have a job, albeit not in her field.

She said: “I had to go for help because I couldn’t pay the rent.

“I wish I never had to – I never imagined I would find myself in this situation.

“I have three children who are eight, six and four.

“They are all British citizens and all born here.”

Mrs Garcia says she has never felt scared living in England before but has noticed a change in the general mood since the EU referendum.

She said: “We could speak Spanish on the bus or train with no problems but now I tell my children not to speak Spanish in public places because I feel people looking at us like ‘what are they doing here?’”

Mrs Garcia has no choice but to return to the Jobcentre, but says the comments have really shaken her.

She told News Shopper: “[The voicemail] wasn’t the first time but it was the worst.

“Living on benefits you live on the edge. I study, I have a finance degree. I am trying to go back to work but I had to stop working because I have three children.

“I understand people say that a lot of people are taking benefits but not every single case is the same.”

A Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We are taking this incident extremely seriously, and we have launched an investigation.”