Nelson man appears on BBC over benefit change fears

ON TELLY: Nelson man Wayne Blackburn appearing with the BBC. (S)

ON TELLY: Nelson man Wayne Blackburn appearing with the BBC. (S)

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NELSON man Wayne Blackburn has appeared on BBC news website expressing his concerns about rising costs, especially in relation to housing.

He and his wife live in a small, social housing bungalow in Nelson and Mr Blackburn suffers conditions which severely limit his ability to move around and leave him in constant pain.

The BBC made it clear that, although their house is classed as a two-bedroom property, the second bedroom is mainly used to store mobility aids.

The Blackburns look likely to miss out on about £12 per week as a result of the benefit changes, and Wayne has made it clear he fears whether they will be able to make ends meet.

After his appearance, Mr Blackburn said: “I am a physically disabled man.

“From last Monday, 650 households in the Pendle area will have been affected by the Bedroom Tax, meaning that those least well off will have to pay either 14% or 25% or their rent out of an already squeezed benefits income.

“To compound this, from the same day Pendle Council have deemed that people of working age will have to contribute 20% of their Council Tax, regardless of their circumstances.

“Add to this the forever rising costs of food, fuel and energy prices and this is amounting to a ‘perfect storm’ that even the Government’s own Work and Pensions Committee are extremely concerned about. In their report published today, they even say that: ‘The Housing Benefit reforms are designed to save £6.2 billion by 2014-15 but the delivery of these savings is uncertain, and indeed the costs of funding Housing Benefit could increase when social rents rise.’ ”

And he added: “There is growing anger and concern at these changes but with short days before they were implemented, many tenants are still unaware of how much they will have to pay - indeed, I have not been given any sort of notification from Pendle Council other than a basic letter stating I will be affected and that I would be contacted to confirm the figure.”