Husband who cares for his wife with MS faces misery because they have a spare bedroom

‘I’d rather go to jail than pay bedroom tax’ – husband carer’s desperation over controversial welfare cut

PETER PAPWORTH, who looks after his disabled wife, says he’d rather be behind bars than pay the Con-Dem’s bedroom tax.

Peter and Amanda Papworth
Peter and Amanda Papworth

A HUSBAND who cares for his disabled wife is among the first people to be hit by the Con-Dem Government’s controversial bedroom tax.

Peter Papworth received a demand from Highland Council this week but vows he will go to jail rather than pay.

The 38-year-old lives with wife Amanda, who has multiple sclerosis, in a two-bedroom house in Inverness.

But Highland Council say the couple must fork out £9.96 a week from next month as they have a spare room.

He is now demanding a meeting with local Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander – a leading member of the Coalition Government behind the tax.

Peter said: “My stomach is knotted with anger. To some people it might only be £40 a month but we simply cannot afford it. This will have a devastating effect on us.”

Their housing benefit is being cut by 14 per cent under the welfare shake-up as they have a spare room.

They will have to pay the council extra rent which would previously have been covered by the benefit.

If Peter refuses, he could face eviction or court action by the council. Failure to co-operate with those processes could lead to arrest and a possible jail sentence.

Peter said: “It’s not right. I have no intention of paying this and I am quite prepared to go to prison.

“Amanda is in a wheelchair and I look after her. We can’t do anything about our situation, yet the council hit us with this.”

The couple say that downsizing to a one-bedroom property is unrealistic.

Even if the council had one available, it would cost £20,000 to convert it for Amanda’s needs.

The demand letter reduced Amanda to tears and the 27-year-old said: “The council wants to take what little spare change we might have away.”

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan, now secretary of the West of Scotland anti-bedroom tax campaign, said the couple’s plight was heartwrenching.

He said: “If the story of Amanda Papworth does not make you angry at what this Con-Dem shower of callous brutes are doing to the poor and disabled then you must have a heart of stone.

“This bedroom tax is shameful and immoral. The poor and disabled will not stand alone.”

The group are staging a protest against the tax in Glasgow’s George Square on March 30.

The Department for Work and Pensions insisted the system was fair and that the state should not pay for council tenants to have extra rooms.

A spokesman said local authorities had been given £160million to help vulnerable tenants.