‘Sunderland Council told me I should downsize – from my one-bedroom flat’

Gavin Proctor has lost his discretionary housing benefit and has been told to downsize, despite living in a one bedroom flat.
Gavin Proctor has lost his discretionary housing benefit and has been told to downsize, despite living in a one bedroom flat.
0
Have your say

A MAN claims council bosses told him they were cutting his housing benefit unless he moved to a smaller home – even though he lives in a one-bedroom flat.

But Sunderland City Council chiefs deny telling Gavin Proctor his home was too large.

Mr Proctor is unable to work due to health problems and is reliant on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

He was also in receipt of discretionary housing benefit, which topped up the basic benefit to allow him to pay for his privately-rented flat in Finchale Close, Deerness Park.

But he received a letter to say the discretionary part of his benefit had been withdrawn.

The 34-year-old said: “The letter says my discretionary housing benefit has been declined because of the funding situation.

“They want me to downsize – how can I downsize from a one-bedroom flat? One bedroom, one sitting room, one bathroom, one kitchen, that’s it.”

A council spokesman said: “The city council has never advised Mr Proctor at any time that his flat was too big, rather, that he may be able to move to a more affordable property.” He added it has been offering support with additional discretionary housing payment since February 2012, but help is limited due to funding from Government.

It says it encourages people to look at alternatives so as many residents as possible can be helped.