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Exemption From Bedroom Tax For Mother Who Feared Putting Disabled Son Into Care

April 14, 2013

A small victory. Could it be the first of many? I for one hope so.

A single mum who faced putting her disabled boy into care because of the bedroom tax has won a U-turn which could pave the way for thousands of other desperate victims.

The harrowing plight of severely autistic 11-year-old Logan Oxley-Goody was exposed by the Sunday People last month when mum Fiona revealed she could not afford the extra £60-a-month to keep a vital spare bedroom needed for her son’s round-the-clock care.

But the council backed down in a major victory for our campaign – telling her she is now EXEMPT.

And today the Sunday People calls on David Cameron to offer the same help to other parents with disabled youngsters.

Delighted Fiona, from Rettendon, Essex, praised us for backing her battle.

She told us: “It’s great news. I’m very pleased. Hopefully, this is going to set a precedent and help families who are in a similar situation to me.

“It’s one battle down and the Sunday People campaign definitely helped.”

For months, our campaign has featured case studies hit by the hated tax which came in on April 1st, including disabled people, those with long term illnesses and foster families.

Fiona and Logan’s case came to light after David Cameron told the House of Commons: “Anyone with severely disabled children is exempt from the spare room subsidy.”

But we revealed the truth – that families like Fiona and Logan ARE being hit by the tax.

And on Thursday she received a letter from her local authority telling her she was exempt. The council told her it was because Logan is so severely disabled.

Fiona added: “All through Logan’s life I’ve had to fight for things and stand my ground.

“I hope the coverage of our story gives other people the confidence to come forward.”

Fiona faced the tax for a tiny third bedroom which allows a carer to stay three nights a week. Logan needs 24-hour care as he self-harms.

The house – which the family moved to in 2006 – has been specially adapted with a padded room for Logan.

There are even CCTV cameras to keep an eye on him. Using savings and grants, Fiona spent around £15,000 on their semi-detached home.

But she would have faced demands to pay back grants, because she had been there less than 10 years.

The National Housing Federation praised the Sunday People for fighting Fiona’s corner.

National Housing Federation chief David Orr said: “We’re delighted Fiona’s council has taken a common-sense approach.

“Her case shows a one-size-fits-all policy does not work, that it is unfair, and that it will hurt families who really need another room. We urge the Government to see sense and scrap this policy now.”

Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith has only freed up a further £25million to help 420,000 households with a disabled person.

Ninety per cent of voters in a Sunday People poll said homes needing a spare room for disabled family members should be exempt. Two-thirds of social housing tenants hit by the tax are disabled.

The best they can hope for is help from a hardship fund worth only £2.51 a week if shared by 230,000 disabled people who need it.

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