‘Government makes me feel sub-human’

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A disabled Whitwell man has welcomed the latest move which sees the Government lose its battle to prevent legal action over the Bedroom Tax .

Richard Rourke, 46, of Bakestone Moor, is currently mounting a High Court challenge over the controversial tax which could see him become homeless.

Law firm Leigh Day said a judicial review of the Government’s decision to deny housing benefit to people who have more than one bedroom if they are single or a couple will now be heard in early May.

Richard, who lost his severely disabled wife Claire last year, said he welcomed the move but said there was still a long way to go.

“I think there may be a little hope that at least part of the injustices that are being put on the sick and disabled could be righted,” he said.

“Let’s just hope that common sense prevails because there seems very little of it being used by the current government.”

Mr Rourke said his benefit payments of £71 stopped him at the beginning of this month, leaving him with nothing to pay his rent, utility bills and food.

He has has to re-apply for income-based Employment Support Allowance which could take weeks to process, meaning he could have a long time to wait without an income to cover his basic needs.

“I have not paid my rent this month and have just £9 in my bank account,” he said.

“I am going to have to contact a food bank for help, and think about what I can sell to make some money.”

“I honestly think the government don’t want the disabled and advantaged to go on,” he said.

“They are making me feel worthless and sub-human - I used to work and didn’t ask for my disability to happen. I don’t know some days how much longer I can go on.”