Soldier forced to pay rent at Clitheroe mother's home despite living in barracks (From This Is Lancashire)
Soldier forced to pay rent at Clitheroe mother's home despite living in barracks
THE British Legion has hit out after learning that a soldier is being forced to pay more than £70-a-week rent for his mum’s home – even though he is staying in barracks.
Des Owen, president of The Royal British Legion in Blackburn, said: “It’s unbelievable that he is being made to pay that amount when he does not really live there.
“It’s a terrible way to treat a soldier and it’s a disgrace.”
Leigh Broome’s mum Delyse Lord said she was ‘shocked’ at the payment order.
Mr Broome, 29, has been asked to pay £77.51 of the total £93.38 weekly rent under the rules of the ‘bedroom tax’.
Mrs Lord, 51, of Central Avenue in Clitheroe, gets just £2.79 towards her rent every week from the government in benefits.
But Mr Broome, who is training full-time at Catterick army base in Yorkshire, is named on a bill from Ribble Valley Council as being responsible for a large portion of the rent due to his earning.
His rent covers his room and another spare room at the three-bedroom semi-detached home.
If he was not a registered occupier at the house, his mum would have to pay the full amount of rent herself.
Mrs Lord, who recently left her job with the North West Ambulance Service, has lived at the property since 1998.
The mum-of-two said: “I just didn’t expect them to come back and say this to me at all and it was a complete shock.
“I’ve not had any problems with the council or government rent policies up to now but he hardly comes home anyway and he is based full-time away from Clitheroe.
“It seems totally unfair that he has to pay rent for this house which he is hardly ever at anyway.”
The Department of Work and Pensions said Leigh would not have to pay the rent if he was serving overseas.
Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans said: “It’s simply not right that a member of the armed forces who does not live at home full-time has to pay rent for that house.
“If there is not a system in place to help those people then there needs to be one set up as soon as possible.
“I would like Mrs Lord to come and speak with me so I can put her case to the relevant authority.”
Bob Scott, chairman of the Royal British Legion in Clitheroe, said: “It seems harsh to me to ask him to pay all of this money.
“It’s a lot of money per week that he has to pay without actually living at that address.”
A Ribble Valley Borough Council spokesman said: "Housing benefit is administered by local authorities on behalf of the government.
"The regulations are determined by government and are extremely complex.
"In line with those regulations, the incomes of non-dependent sons or daughters are taken into consideration when assessing housing benefit entitlement."
A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “It is simply not affordable to pay housing benefit for people to have spare rooms in social housing.
“This reform will save hard working taxpayers almost £1billion over the next two years and will help restore fairness to our housing benefit system.
"We’ve given councils £150millon so vulnerable claimants get the help they need.”
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