When it comes to listing the despicable things our LibDem-supported Tory government are doing, their bedroom tax has to be near the top of the list. The story below is reproduced with permission to show how punitive, damaging and entirely counter-productive the Tory attack on housing benefit is. John's story has been anonymised.
I’m a 50 year old devoted father of a nine year old son, who is disabled and is wheelchair bound. He suffers with Intraventricular Haemorrhage, Hydrocephalus, Cerebral Palsy (Spastic Quadriplegia), Epilepsy, and learning difficulties. His mother and I split up eight years ago and I moved into a two-bed flat on the third floor. As my son got older the council helped me move into a ground floor maisonette in 2011.
Now I’m unemployed and struggling to make day-to day-living as I don’t get any help for looking after my son. My son stays three nights a week and frequently longer. His mum, who is considered the primary care giver, goes away for about three weeks a year as respite. Sometimes, when he is on midterm or holidays from school I can have him for around 80+ hours per week. For this care I expect and receive nothing from the state.
Thanks to the new rules that will govern housing benefit, his bedroom will be classed as a spare. But this room is his. It has his bed, his clothes, his toys, and his school paintings.
The council originally moved us from the third floor to the ground floor maisonette on the advice of my son's specialists, and for health and safety reasons. And now the government want us to share a room. Never mind the noise my Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine causes. Is that fair on a disabled child? How can I sleep in the same bedroom as my son?
I know I am not the only one, as there will be many fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters affected by this but why is the government taking from the poor , the vulnerable, the disabled and making our lives HELL?
Then there's the problem of actually downsizing. How can I when so few one bed properties are being chased by hundreds of people struggling to escape the bedroom tax?
It's a joke. My rent for my council-owned flat is £64.34/week. If I downsize like the government wants, the average one-bed property here costs £75/week. This will cost the taxpayer £10.66 MORE in Housing Benefit every single week, and I don't lose any Housing benefit!
Where’s the saving?
This statement has been taken from the 'Families, Children and Young people strategy' on the Conservative Party's site:
"We are committed to encouraging shared parenting and firmly believe that children should have meaningful relationships with both parents after separation."
They have a funny way of showing their support.