Carer to be hit by introduction of ‘bedroom tax’

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A carer from Northamptonshire said he would be financially better off with his disabled wife in a nursing home when a new bedroom tax comes in.

Tony Sharman, 60, gave up work to look after his wife Anne, 56, full-time at their two-bedroom housing association flat in Towcester following her second brain haemorrhage.

Mr Sharman sleeps in the second bedroom because Anne’s special bed, designed to prevent pressure ulcers, is too small for them both. She also needs too much medical kit to fit in another bed.

Yet from April, the Government will dock the couple £60 a month in bedroom tax from their benefits because they say Mr Sharman’s room is a ‘spare room’, even though he has to sleep in it, and the flat is therefore ‘under-occupied’.

Mr Sharman said: “The tax is meant to penalise those on benefits whose housing association or council homes are too big for their needs.

“That’s not us. If they assessed people individually they’d see we genuinely need separate bedrooms.”

Mr Sharman said the loss from his housing benefit will make it extremely difficult to make ends meet and he will have to cut his food bill.

South Northamptonshire MP Andrea Leadsom and his housing association are both supporting him. He said: “The tax is putting me and other carers in the position where we will be financially better off putting a loved one in care, costing the taxpayer £2,400 a month. All I want is to look after my wife, incidentally saving the country an awful lot of money. But the Government would rather have its £15 a week.”