Cwmbran mum left broke after Bron Afon Community Housing wrongly told her to pay £2,000 ‘bedroom tax’

A CWMBRAN mother claims to “have nothing left” after wrongly paying the so-called bedroom tax for almost two years – for a box room.

Katherine Purcell, who suffers with heart problems, claims to have lost about £2,000 since she was first incorrectly told the space was subject to the housing benefit rule.

But in mid-January, despite Bron Afon Community Housing accepting that the room at her home in Cresswell Walk, St Dials, was too small to warrant action in mid-January, the 50-year-old was told the higher rent she had paid could not be refunded.

Mrs Purcell, who lives with son Stephen who has learning difficulties, explained: “I was first contacted two years ago and told I would need to pay bedroom tax. I explained that it was a tiny box room and they said they would send a form but never did.

“Last summer two people came knocking on the door saying I was in arrears for £800, and then said they were taking me to court in August. My sister paid £1,000 and I had to pay court costs.”

She said there was a small amount of water bill arrears, but it was mainly due to the extra payments for the spare bedroom.

Mrs Purcell then paid £57 per fortnight up until last month when Bron Afon responded to her fears and concerns by and sending staff to measure the room.

She said she has now been told the room is too small to be classed as a bedroom.

She added: “Now they say they won’t backdate that money and will be in touch. I haven’t heard anything more.

“I have nothing left and am struggling.”

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