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Worcester mum says bedroom tax move has left her £900 out of pocket
A DISABLED single mum and her teenage son say they have been forced to cancel Christmas after the so-called bedroom tax cost them nearly £1,000.
Lisa Taylor agreed to downsize to a two-bedroom flat in Quenington Close, Warndon, Worcester, from her three-bedroom flat in Rose Avenue, Tolladine, where she had lived for a decade because of the tax or “spare room subsidy”.
She hoped the move would save her cash after the bedroom tax was introduced in April.
The tax resulted in a 14 per cent cut in her housing benefit, leaving her more than £12 a month out of pocket, and she is still uncertain of how much she owes in rent arrears because of the tax and she ended up paying £900 in savings set aside for Christmas to fund the move to their new home.
The 39-year-old, who does not spend any cash on alcohol or cigarettes, says she has even had to sell property on eBay to make ends meet.
Since the bedroom tax was brought in she can no longer afford to buy her son a PlayStation 4 for Christmas.
“I can’t even afford to give my son a single present,” she said.
“Christmas was always a special time of year for me, now it is filled with upset and depression.
“I can’t afford to give my family cards let alone presents and I’m so low I’m crying every day.
“I can’t stand it. It’s like I’ve lost everything.”
Miss Taylor is now sleeping in a broken bed and has no wardrobe in which to hang her clothes, she said.
Other possessions have gone missing which she attributes to being put under pressure to move house quickly by Worcester Community Housing, her registered housing provider.
Miss Taylor, who cannot work because of health problems, moved to the new house with 16-year-old son Ben on September 9 but was only given two weeks to move by WCH.
And she said she only agreed to the move because she was getting “several letters a week” from WCH asking her to move house.
Once it had found her somewhere she says WCH told her she had to move in two days or risk “dropping back to the bottom of the list”.
Miss Taylor, who describes the bedroom tax as “absolutely ridiculous”, suffers from fibromyalgia, arthritis, back and leg pain, two slipped discs, sciatica and depression which, she says, prevents her from working.
She said she received employment and support allowance totalling £220 per fortnight, disability living allowance of £86 per month, child benefit of £20 per week and child tax credit of £58 per week.
Iain Harkess, head of operations at WCH, said all WCH properties were unfurnished as standard and confirmed the organisation did not provide help to people moving because of the bedroom tax.
He said: “We’re keen to work with people affected by the welfare reforms to try to find solutions.
“Miss Taylor is financially better off in this property and we’re fortunate enough to be able to offer her a move to a two-bedroom property but we do understand that moving can be stressful and expensive and that is the other side of the welfare reforms.”