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Bedroom tax: Blind man fears losing home to controversial tax

A blind man is taking his case to court after fearing he could lose his home to the Government's controversial new 'bedroom tax', reports The Independent.

Martyn Styles, of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, is registered deaf blind and lives in a three-bedroom house with his wife and 16-year-old son who are both also deaf.

Mr Styles lives in council-provided accommodation and so has been hit by the Government's new and highly controversial 'bedroom tax', which cuts the housing benefit of those who have a spare room but do not rent the room out to gain extra income.

Mr Styles and his lawyers are likely to argue that the bedroom tax disproportionately impacts upon the disabled, who often need additional space to keep important equipment.

The additional bedroom in Mr Styles' house is used to keep braille and other equipment to allow him to communicate. He is likely to lose around £40 per week as a result of the tax; a figure which he says could result in him losing his home.

Mr Styles has instructed Sense, a legal advice team especially for disabled customers. Kari Gerstheimer works for Sense.

"Our legal team has had a significant increase in the number of calls received from deaf-blind people and their families struggling to make ends meet and fearful of being forced to leave their homes as a result of the bedroom tax," he told The Independent.

At the moment the Court of Appeal has listed ten similar cases against the bedroom tax as worthy of being heard.

Earlier this year a judge in Glasgow ruled that the bedroom tax had breached the human rights of a multiple sclerosis sufferer who was due to lose 14% of her housing benefit because of a second bedroom that a judge ruled was vital space for her husband.

The Government say that the tax is designed to weed out 'under occupancy', where council properties are let with spare rooms - to improve the availability of appropriately sized properties and to cut the annual £20bn benefit budget.

Opponents say such taxes will always disadvantage the disabled, who have a greater need for space and services over an able-bodied person.