JANICE MARTIN said she fears the new Con-Dem tax will force her out of her home in Coatbridge.
A DISABLED Scot has told of her fears that Coalition benefit cuts will force her from her home.
Wheelchair-bound Janice Martin, 50, from Old Monklands in Coatbridge, told her MP Tom Clarke:
“I feel suicidal about this bedroom tax”.
Clarke, the Labour MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshhill, raised Janice’s case in the Commons yesterday ahead of a debate on the bedroom tax on spare rooms in council houses.
And Prime Minister David Cameron was jeered when he claimed he had the needs of disabled people at heart when he introduced the bedroom tax.
The Coalition cut will see housing benefit slashed for under-occupied council tenancies from this April.
Tenants will lose a fixed per-centage of housing benefit – 14 per cent for one room and 25 per cent for two or more rooms that are not used.
On average, tenants will lose £14-£25 a week – and many will fall into rent arrears and face eviction.
Janice told the Record:
“I know it sounds dramatic but the stress means that I am not sleeping.
“It is a case of heating or eating at the moment and the thought of this new tax coming in, I just can’t see a way out of it.
“I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow to see how this is affecting my mental health. There must be thousands of others in the same position.”
Jancice has osteoporosis and has had her three-bedroom council house adapted to her needs. She said:
“I have carers staying overnight from time to time and my daughters have to come and look after me some weekends.”
She asked for a transfer some years ago but North Lanarkshire Council had nothing available.
MP Clarke – a lifelong campaigner on disability – said Janice was wheelchair dependent and required day and night assistance from social services.
He challenged Cameron:
“Would he agree to put the needs of disabled people first and revisit what is turning out for hundreds and thousands of disabled people and their families to be a disastrous policy.”
Cameron said there would be discretionary payments for disabled people but that the growing housing benefit bill had to be tackled.
In a subsequent Commons debate, Welfare Minister Steve Webb told MPs the Government may exempt all foster families from the bedroom tax.
SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford said the tax would be socially destructive, adding:
“It is a shameless attempt to penalise disabled people and ask them to carry the can. It is going to cause hardship and distress.”
Labour’ MP Margaret Curran said:
“Nearly 100,000 Scots will be worse off, 40,000 are likely to face rent arrears and thousands could end up homeless.
“The SNP said that more houses and advice for tenants was important, but they cut the housing budget again this year and they sat on funding for welfare advice for 18 months before using it.”