Council backs down ahead of her tribunal
The mum of a young soldier who battled the council over so-called bedroom tax charges has won her case.
Furious Rebecca Turner appealed against the fees which Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council had imposed since 2014 when her son Elliott left school to join the army.
After gaining the support of legal experts at the Royal British Legion and highlighting her plight earlier this year in The Hinckley Times, the authority backed down just days before the case was to be heard at a tribunal.
The mobile hairdresser from Hinckley has been refunded the £1,124 she was charged and been assured she won’t be the subject of any further fees. Now she is urging others who may be in a similar position to challenge the council themselves.
Rebecca said: “I just want other families to know. For me it wasn’t about the money so much as about the principle. It is up to people to contact the council if they think they shouldn’t be paying so I would encourage people to investigate their own situation.”
According to legislation if a family has a child in the armed forces, leaving their room at home vacant, they don’t have to pay bedroom tax as long as they return home. Elliott was stationed at barracks in Harrogate but came back to Hinckley regularly.
Rebecca questioned the charges, incurred because she was on housing benefit, and explained why she should be exempt.
But the council insisted she needed to pay, saying Elliott had ceased to ‘normally reside’ with her even he returned during leave or holiday. Rebecca was certain she was in the right and her conviction was vindicated when she contacted the Royal British Legion for help.
Four days before the date of the tribunal she was contacted by a council officer who said the matter had been dropped as new evidence had come to light about Elliott being under 18.
Rebecca said: “I told them that was not new evidence, I had been saying that for months. I feel the authority should have known the law and they should have implemented the law. I also feel all my comments and evidence were overlooked and ignored. They were adamant I had to pay. All of this could have been sorted out right at the beginning.