HELEN Sockell faced losing her Kilmarnock home because of the hated tax imposed by the Con-Dem government. But East Ayrshire Council leader Douglas Reid paid her a visit to assure her that won’t be happening.
A COUNCIL chief has said sorry in person to a blind widow threatened with eviction over the bedroom tax.
East Ayrshire Council leader Douglas Reid visited Helen Sockell, 56, to apologise for the threat over a £117 bill.
Helen, from Kilmarnock, is one of 105,000 single people in Scotland who have been told they must move to smaller homes – or lose housing benefit. But only 20,000 single occupancy homes are available.
Reid has also raised Helen’s case with Scottish Office minister David Mundell and described the bedroom tax as “barbaric”.
Helen has lived alone in her three-bedroom house since 2005, when her husband John and son Andrew both died.
“Mr Reid came here to see me after the story appeared in the Record.
“He was very nice and went out of his way to reassure me. I can sleep at night without this hanging over me.
“If I lost the house, I would have to learn my way around a new house and that would be difficult.”
Helen, who was born with poor eyesight, lost her sight totally after an operation when she was 14.
SNP councillor Reid believes she should be exempt from paying the bedroom tax.
“We will also get officers to try to maximise her benefits as I don’t think she was claiming enough.”
East Ayrshire Council say 170 people in their area are now in arrears solely due to non-payment of bedroom tax.
But Reid said there was nothing the council could do to avoid implementing the tax. He added:
“It is draconian. There is a need to reform the welfare system but not in this way.”
BTC Comment: There is a need to reinstate and SAVE the welfare system!