Wigan couple tell of their bedroom tax hell

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A DISABLED Wigan man fears he is to become one of Wigan’s first victims of the controversial Bedroom Tax.

Neil Martindale and his wife Sheila say they are terrified of losing their council tenancy in Norley because of the under-occupancy rule changes introduced last month.

They believe it could even result in them having to eventually live apart just to survive financially. They have already had a warning from Wigan and Leigh Housing that it may have to seek a Notice of Possession on the Devon Close tenancy because of the controversial legislation.

Mr Martindale is long-term disabled following an accident at work 13 years ago. His wife, whom he met later, is now also his registered carer.

But up to that point he says he had always been in work and paid his taxes on time.

Sheila was already living in the property in Devon Drive with her two daughters when they got together.

When his step-daughters became old enough to move out to start lives of their own, the couple decided they were going to make the three-bed semi their permanent home, as his physical condition has deteriorated.

They received Disability Living Allowance, Incapacity and Income Support benefits before Universal Credit was introduced.

Mr Martindale said: “We got married and had to spend everything we had on the house on making our very uncertain future as comfortable as possible. All fixtures and fittings upstairs had to be fixed in place, such as fitted wardrobes, as I kept collapsing and pulling everything over.

“We still tried to start a new family but sadly we suffered two miscarriages. Due to this illness and condition, my wife and myself no longer sleep in the same bedroom and on bad days with this condition I cannot function as I need help with other functions as well.