Bedroom tax a ‘kick in teeth’ for Chepstow foster carer
12:10pm Thursday 7th February 2013 in News
A CHEPSTOW councillor who gave up his job to care for his late brother-in-law’s son feels he is being punished by a controversial benefit change.
Cllr Dale Rooke moved into his brother-in-law’s house in Bulwark to nurse his relative before he died and agreed to stay to look after his teenage son, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
But like many social housing tenants, he is having his benefits slashed by around £11 per week this spring because of a new government policy.
The so-called bedroom tax, coming into force from April, means such tenants in employment and those in receipt of housing benefit will be worse off if they are deemed to be under-occupying their homes and have a spare bedroom.
Mr Rooke, a town councillor for Chepstow, said the spare room, measuring just 7ft by 6ft, in his end-terrace Monmouthshire Housing Association property, is barely big enough to accommodate a single bed.
Cllr Rooke said it was a life-changing decision for him to to take up full-time foster care.
“It feels like we are getting a kick in the teeth,” he said. “I’m thinking of taking a legal challenge about the size of the bedroom.”
Cllr Rooke claims he asked the housing association representative what would happen if he was unable to pay, and said he was told he could be rehomed but they don’t have anywhere.
A spokeswoman the housing association said: “MHA have identified 421 households being directly affected by bedroom tax and all have been visited by the neighbourhood teams to discuss their options.”
Anyone with concerns can contact 01495 767182 (south of county) or 01495 767181 (north of county).