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Hi, Sorry if this has already been posted on this site but I have just read a shocking story that was published yesturday in a newspaper.

 

A MAN driven to despair by the bedroom tax attempted suicide in a council housing office yesterday.Staff looked on in horror as tormented Lawrence Keane slit his wrists in a reception area after asking for help with rent arrears he had run up as a result of the hated tax.

 

The vulnerable 58-year-old said: “I stood up and asked them if they wanted my blood because that’s all I had left to give. I started hacking at both my arms.”

 

Former miner Lawrence made the suicide bid at Lochgelly Community Centre in Fife at 9am.

After cutting his arms, he stood with his arms at his side, letting blood drip on to the floor.

He was treated at Victoria Infirmary in Kirkcaldy and released.

 

To read more here is the link: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tenant-slits-wrist-housing-office-2237582

 

This is so shocking and to be honest, would anyone pay rent in that flat with the state of he's walls.

Edited by citizenB
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they will more than likely blame this on something else as they usually do but its not right this is the third thing i have seen with the bedroom tax and the effects its having on people its not right

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so he hacked his arms up in the council office,this person should never have been in a council flat,he should have been in an institution somewhere,hes obviously mentally incapable,hopefully theyve got him in somewhere for his own safety and anyone else that might have been living near him

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not all people who suffer with mental health problem should be put in institution and people with mental health can live independent normal lives and have the right to have a council flat just the same as anyone else.

 

and that also does not automatically make him danger to anyone else living near him either

 

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This is so shocking and to be honest, would anyone pay rent in that flat with the state of he's walls.

 

Hopefully he'll get help from social services. He's been living in this flat himself for 14 years, so it might not have been like this when he moved in. He's also got a son and family, surely they could have painted it for him if he wanted it done but couldn't do it himself.

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CK, you comment is quite unkind don't you think ?

 

Most people with mental health issues are able to cope with the world - it would appear this single issue was just too much. I hardly think straight jackets and a white van is the right answer, do you ?

 

I have to agree with fightingback, the property was in a shocking state of disrepair and the Housing authority/council, IMHO have a nerve charging anything, let alone extra for a spare bedroom !!

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This man has requested to be moved to a one bedroom, if this is the case the council should be putting in more effort to find him one instead of pursuing him for the unfair rent increase.

 

People who have requested to be moved shouldnt be penalised.

 

The council dosnt let you pay less rent if you are overcrowded, so why are the council not looking into their housing crisis they have, Im sure if they reshuffled those who want to be moved, they wouldnt have such a problem.

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CK, I just about recall a time when all the people in residential care for mental health issues, and other types of issues, meaning they were unable to cope, were turned out into the world for "Care in the Community" . This would have had to involve a place to live, which very often meant a Council property. Years down the line, a person such as this poor gentleman, who is told on his release into the community that this is your home for life (because that is what the meaning of "secure" tenancy is - it is capable of being passed on in a will in some cases) then faces this crap over the bedroom tax. I can easily see how there might be a resurgence of his problems, which in truth have probably always been there.

 

People are accepted under the Homeless Persons Legislation as being in priority need for certain mental illnesses. Maybe this is how the poor man got his flat. Who knows. Not much of a home as we see, but home nevertheless to him. I expect he feels secure when in his little home. Very important for mentally ill people.

 

You really have made me cross CK with your comments. I hope you have a terrible nightmare about mentally ill people. Karma. X

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I know quite a few people with mental health issues that should be in hospital care,ie,they cant look after themselves and constantly doing themselves harm also setting fire to their flats on a regular basis jeapordising themselves and other folk that live in the same block,years ago these people would have been in care and not left to just vegetate by themselves,most mentally ill people who are borderline normal with medication can soon end up being sectioned as they dont take the medication without supervision,I know 4 people living near me who this has happened to in the last eighteen months.

The problem is this so called care in the community,its more to do with councils saving money than helping some unfortunate that really need help,sadly the public only really hears of the sensational cases that make the newspapers,the people that maim and kill and thats your "care in the community"

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Ck, Yes I agree that That there is a massive problem with care in the community or should I say lack of care. Over the last 3 years I have lost every part of my community care. (CPN etc) About six months ago a woman that I know became delusional. She recognised she had problems but GP could not do nothing, community team likewise, No beds etc. She ended up stabbing someone . Another went into hospital but 150 miles away because that was the only bed available. I disagree with your very narrow view of mental illness there are a great number of "normal" people who are far more savage and dangerous than many of the mentally ill people I know. If a thug sticks a knife into someone it hardly makes the news. Put the same story out and add mental illness and its headline news.

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The stats show that people with mental health issues are far more likely to be a danger to themselves than others.

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mentally ill people who are borderline normal

 

all i can say to that comment is WOW

 

it seems we still have a lot of stigma to fight in this country when it comes to what people seem to think they know and understand about mental health issues and as someone who works with metal health patients i am actually saddened by that comment i see people young and old struggle everyday with there illness and its not n easy thing to overcome

 

there are people all over the country who are in a petition effected by the bedroom tax which can cause deprssion even if they have not suffered it before now it effects a lot of people mental health or not

Edited by time4change2
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Hi, Sorry if this has already been posted on this site but I have just read a shocking story that was published yesturday in a newspaper.

 

 

 

To read more here is the link: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tenant-slits-wrist-housing-office-2237582

 

This is so shocking and to be honest, would anyone pay rent in that flat with the state of he's walls.

 

 

But its very clear that his arrears were NOT caused just by the Bedroom tax He owed £399 his contribution to his rent was an extra £56 per month and if it was just the extra he needed to find after his HB was reduced and the HB reduction started in April thats only £280 and the article mentioned other arrears.

 

The reduction in HB did not help but was certainly not the sole cause of his arrears.

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There is a wide spectrum of mental health problems, from mild depression to Paranoid schizophrenia and the odd panic attack to psychosis.

 

You have to treat each patient differently because no one will act the same. Every ones breaking point is different. It dosnt mean that they need to be in some mental institute because they got frustrated enough to cut themselves.

 

This man was at the end of his tether with the council, he felt that he wasnt being heard, so he made a point that would shock and it worked, he got the attention he wanted. Not every person with a mental illness wants to make such a public plea for attention.

 

His arrears were because he had to start paying the bedroom tax. Not because he has a mental illness.

I feel that you are very blinkered where mental health issues are concerned.

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There is a wide spectrum of mental health problems, from mild depression to Paranoid schizophrenia and the odd panic attack to psychosis.

 

You have to treat each patient differently because no one will act the same. Every ones breaking point is different. It dosnt mean that they need to be in some mental institute because they got frustrated enough to cut themselves.

 

This man was at the end of his tether with the council, he felt that he wasnt being heard, so he made a point that would shock and it worked, he got the attention he wanted. Not every person with a mental illness wants to make such a public plea for attention.

 

His arrears were because he had to start paying the bedroom tax. Not because he has a mental illness.

I feel that you are very blinkered where mental health issues are concerned.

 

I am sorry that is not the case, his arrears were according to the council £399 his excess rent payment was £56 per month if you take the month of April (when the benefit change started ) to the end of August thats 5 months only £280 that can be attributed to his extra rent , I am not saying it wasn't a contributing factor to his problems but his arrears did not start with the reduction of his HB for the extra room - thats quite obvious from the article.

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I am sorry that is not the case, his arrears were according to the council £399 his excess rent payment was £56 per month if you take the month of April (when the benefit change started ) to the end of August thats 5 months only £280 that can be attributed to his extra rent , I am not saying it wasn't a contributing factor to his problems but his arrears did not start with the reduction of his HB for the extra room - thats quite obvious from the article.

From what I read there was no mention of HB.

 

He received DLA and a minors pension.

 

Its certain that at least £300 odd pounds were due to the council bedroom tax and a smaller portion was due to rent arrears. (£56 per 4 weekly)

The point I was making was his arrears were not a contributing factor because he had a mental illness but the fact that the arrears were due to the bedroom tax and yes you are correct was in a small amount of arrears on top of that.

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Then I am confused the 'bedroom tax ' as people call it is the reduction in housing benefit paid depending on how many spare rooms a person has, the reduction in housing benefit means that a person has to pay more of their benefits/wages (if low paid and entitled to HB) on their rents. People who live in social housing/private housing who pay their rent without claiming HB are not subject to the 'bedroom tax'.

 

Looking at Fife Councils housing website there is no mention of the council increasing the rents for an extra bedroom but a lot of advise on what to do if your HB is reduced Therefore in order for this man to be in arrears due (in some part) to the 'bedroom tax ' then he must be on HB.

Edited by Madamfluff
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Bedroom tax is added on top of the rent, HB is not reduced at all it stays the same, its the rent that is more. Every one in social housing has to pay it whether they are on benefits or not.

 

People who rent privately are not effected, regardless of whether they have 1 room or 5 rooms extra, working or not working. It is based on each individual council on how much benefit is given with regards to HB on a private let.

 

In some areas it hasnt come into effect yet.

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Bedroom tax is added on top of the rent, HB is not reduced at all it stays the same, its the rent that is more. Every one in social housing has to pay it whether they are on benefits or not.

 

People who rent privately are not effected, regardless of whether they have 1 room or 5 rooms extra, working or not working. It is based on each individual council on how much benefit is given with regards to HB on a private let.

 

In some areas it hasnt come into effect yet.

Looks like I was wrong on this point (in bold) it does get reduced depending on how many rooms that are spare, 14% on one room or 25% on two. Which dosnt make sense because if you were not onHB the rent goes up with the same percentage.

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Yes, Seanamarts, benefits are confusing, especially late at night :wink:

 

The key point is that if you're paying your own rent then you won't be affected - it's not the level of rent that's changing, it's the level of HB. So if a person works or has a decent income from some other source (such as a pension) then they'll be OK. Or to put that another way, you can have as big a council house as you like if you can afford the rent without public assistance. But if you claim HB and have one more room than the government says you need, 14% is deducted from your payments. Two or more rooms over and it's 25%.

 

More general comments,not directed at anyone in particular, since the world obviously needs my wisdom :lol:

 

This is why I said upthread that it's not that I have a serious problem with this in principle - obviously having couples with no dependent children living in three bed social houses is a waste of a very limited resource. And, of course, taxpayers may baulk at the idea of paying HB to people who are living in huge houses that they don't really need. But, oh boy, the implementation of this is thoughtless at best and malicious at worst. The smaller houses they would move to and which would be more in line with their needs simply are not available in the social sector, as most such housing was built for families who were living on top of each other in the decrepit slums of post-war British cities. There is no way to make this idea work short of building more smaller social housing units, and clearly that isn't going to happen. And even if it was in the pipeline, the time to introduce punitive sanctions is after, not before, the task is complete.

 

So as things stand, they ask to be rehoused, and the council or HA says "We'll look into it for you". And months, years later, the tenants are still waiting because there's nowhere for them to go - only now they can't afford the rent.

 

Well, there is one place they could go - the private sector. Tenants of private landlords are assessed by different rules, rules which are actually harsher than the "bedroom tax". A couple without dependent children, for example, will only be paid the going rate in their council area for a one bedroom flat, and resident adult non-deps attract a reduction in benefits.

 

But there's a key point - even taking this into account, the private rental sector is a lot more expensive than the social sector. I mean, the difference is startling. A one bed in the private sector could well cost as much as a two or three bed social sector house. So, we push tenants on HB out of social houses (which are relatively cheap) into the private sector, where they'll claim HB at a higher rate. And in the meantime, we fill the social sector houses with people who could afford to rent in the private sector. Taxpayers lose, private landlords win.

 

And then we offer incentives (using public money, of course) to people taking out mortgages, something which most social sector HB claimants don't even bother to dream about. They're about as likely to get one as I am to wake up next to Karen Gillan tomorrow.

 

What could possibly go wrong?

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I think it all depends where you live with regards to the private sector. A one bed flat near the town can be at least £100 more than in the area say 10 miles up the road.

 

My son was in a 2 bed tiny flat and paid £650 a month in town, he moved a few miles up the road and rents a 3 bed house for £550 a month in a more rural area.

 

Its worth looking around and often more feasible to move.

 

I know why I got so confused now, I was thinking on the lines of the UC when that eventually comes in. :doh:

 

I have to agree that people who live in social housing that have have extra rooms and are on HB should be found accommodation that more suits their needs, it would be feasible for them in the long run, eg; less heating less water rates less council tax etc.

In this day and age we all have to make sacrifices. Often it is better moving out of social housing into the private sector. My landlord was council approved and I was put forward to him because his rent was inline with the housing benefit allocations for this area.

 

Councils hold a list of these landlords and im shocked to see that councils are not using them more. I have to say that private housing is almost in par with social housing in most area's because LL's can get buy to let mortgages so easily now and many are buying up the empty run down properties, doing them up and renting them out at a cheaper rate.

 

Councils should have had a plan in place for those who were under occupying. I do know of some councils giving their tenants a year to find alternative accommodation and are giving them incentives to move into the private sector.

 

There are also other organisations that rent houses/flats etc. The salvation army for one, have quite a few houses dotted around the UK. They are also listed with the council.

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Yes indeed, UC rules are different.

 

With regard to the private sector, your needs are considered and then your HB is worked based on a combination of what you need and the average price for such a place in your area. I think HB (or LHA, as it is for private tenants) is calculated on the basis of something like 80% of the average rent for that type of property in the council area, as determined by an independent rent assessment agency. So, for example, when my wife and I had to claim HB (up until April this year, when she started work) we paid £375 pcm but only got about £325 pcm in HB. Such is life. This could be the issue your son ran up against.

 

In South Lanarkshire we could have lived in Biggar, for example, which would have been cheap. But good luck finding a job there if you don't have a car. Hamilton was 25 minutes by train from Glasgow, Biggar is in MAMBA country. The assessed rent and HB was the same, however.

 

Of course, this has its problems, because living close to where the work is - well, that costs more than living in the middle of nowhere.

 

The way it works for private tenants is that if you're single and under 35, you get the going rate for a flat share. If you're single and over 35, or a childless couple of any age, you get the rate for one bedroom. Then add extra rooms for any children - two of the same sex under 10 are expected to share a room, etc, just as per social tenants.

 

I have to agree that people who live in social housing that have have extra rooms and are on HB should be found accommodation that more suits their needs, it would be feasible for them in the long run, eg; less heating less water rates less council tax etc.

In this day and age we all have to make sacrifices. Often it is better moving out of social housing into the private sector. My landlord was council approved and I was put forward to him because his rent was inline with the housing benefit allocations for this area.

 

Yes, quite. As I said, I have no problem in principle with folks who're over occupying looking for a new place to live - social housing is a scarce resource and should be reserved for those who really need it. But let's not kid ourselves that this policy will save the taxpayer any money. Forcing people into the private sector will only ensure that we have to pay them more HB.

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his arrears were probably caused by the fact he has mental health problems,he should have been in somewhere getting proper care

 

...and just where do you suggest this poor man should be "in" ?

 

He may not have any family or friends who can care for him or house him - plenty of people don't

Acute beds in MH are already full to the brim and care in acute wards is not always care in the true sense nor theraputic

Community support from Community Mental Health Nurses is scant, unpredictable and they cannot wave a wand to find cheap, single accommodation which is in a liveable and clean condition out of thin air!

He may have been looking for cheaper accommodation and been unable to find any

He may have been sent letters from the council with confusing, contradictory and inaccurate information in them, that left him in the wrong whatever his actions

 

Now CK, think about what support this man may or may not have...

 

He may be on a very long waiting list to even get the most basic of support for his MH needs. Currently the waiting list for cheap as chips, group CBT in my area is 14 months. That's for MH conditions that are considered "mild"

Access to even basic MH assessment can be as long as 9 months where I live.

He may need a simple adjustment of medication but cannot access his GP at a time when he can get to the surgery due to public transport timetables

He may not be able to use public transport due to anxiety, social phobia and countless other conditions

He may have not even have a GP

He may not have been prescribed medication, not everyone with MH issues needs it.

He may be on a medication that is unsuitable for him, plenty of people are in this state because the drugs handed out don't always help, sometimes they make things worse

He may not have the money to pay for his prescriptions (not everyone on benefits gets free prescriptions)

He may simply have been pushed over the edge and into crisis from the grinding hell of persistent MH problems, lack of support and true poverty.

 

CK, you need to educate yourself thoroughly about MH issues and how they are addressed (or not) in our Big Society.

 

One day, through no fault of your own, you might find yourself with a mental health issue, standing in the HB or JC+ office, driven to total and fatal despair by the brick wall of maladministration and apathy and sheer cruelty of the current system

 

Do let us know how you get on when that happens won't you?

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