Changes to housing benefits mean rent will be too expensive

Brian Penny pictured with his carer, Zoe Hull
Brian Penny pictured with his carer, Zoe Hull
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A disabled man has hit out at Government policy changes that mean he will have to pay extra rent on a spare room used by his carers.

Brian Penny, 53, suffers from a rare chromosome disorder and often has carers and family members stay in the spare room of his council flat in Elizabeth Road, Stamford.

Mr Penny, who is just 2ft10in tall, has had a series of adjustments made to his flat to help him live comfortably in his home of 22 years.

But he was distraught to learn in April that as a result of changes to the housing benefit rules he would have to pay an extra 14 per cent rent - or £14 per week - on his home or move to a one-bedroom property with standard furnishings and fittings.

Mr Penny, who struggles to find work because of his disability, said: “They want to charge me extra for the spare room but it is used nearly every week.

“I have injections in my back and need 24-hour care.

“If they move me I would have to get all the work done again.”

Mr Penny said he is usually left with £20 at the end of every month and would not be able to afford the extra rent.

He asked South Kesteven District Council for a discretionary housing payment to help but was refused.

His only option now is to convince the council that he requires the second bedroom for carers.

Head of housing and neighbourhoods Ian Richardson said the council was working hard to help people cope with the Government’s changes.

He added: “Council tenants have been advised that, should they have difficulty paying their increased contribution to the rent, they should discuss this with us at the earliest opportunity.

“It is too early, however, to properly assess the longer term impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ on the council’s rental income.”