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Agony Aunt letters: Bedroom Tax & Council Tax Will Just Finish Me Off
10:10am Tuesday 25th September 2012 in Freetime
KAYE Townsend is a qualified, BACP registered, person-centred counsellor with a private practice in Flackwell Heath, Bucks.
She is currently writing a self-help book, write articles for various publications & work as a volunteer counsellor for a local charity.
Here she answers letters in her Bucks Free Press agony aunt column.
To contact her, email email@example.com
I lost my husband last year to cancer & feel very lost & alone. I have lived in my council property for 15 years & have just received 2 letters today, saying that they are introducing a bedroom tax & doing away with council tax benefit from April 2013.
Apparently if I have 1 or more spare bedrooms I will lose housing benefit by up to 25% which I think may work out to £30 per week. I am disabled & partially sighted & receive ESA benefit which is £65 per week.
This means I will have to give up half of my benefit. The other option is to move to a smaller property but this is where my children grew up, my husband & I spent many happy years together in our garden, which now has a tree planted in memory of him. This is my home not just a house. I am so distressed about what I will do, I can’t think straight.
I don’t think I could cope with the stress of packing up my home & moving to a property that has no memories. I find my way around this house & keep my independence because I know the house so well, my lifelong friends & neighbours all live nearby & the thought of moving makes me just feel like giving up. What can I do?
Charlotte, 55, Wooburn Green.
I have been reading about the introduction of a bedroom tax & the plans to stop council tax benefit from April next year. Today I have contacted Red Kite for you to ask about your options. A very pleasant & helpful lady explained the following to me.
It appears that the introduction for bedroom tax will start in April 2013 with a maximum benefit being paid of £138.46 for a single person towards your weekly rent. This is calculated on the cost of a single person living in 1 bedroom, self contained accommodation, so if your current rent is below this figure, it shouldn’t affect you.
With the council tax benefit, there is the introduction of council tax support which is means tested & calculated for each individual household. Red Kite is not in a position to be able to do this until next year.
If you would like to call Red Kite with your details the telephone number is 01494 461000 & perhaps they can put your mind at rest.
Best wishes Charlotte,