Gentleman in the picture is not the author.


Trophy Winner for Monday 27th May 2013 goes once again to Cornwall Council, and Cornwall Homechoice.

(This is a follow up to last week’s award to Cornwall Council dated 20th May 2013).

Since that award I have received a reply from Jon Warner, Homechoice Manager West/Central, Cornwall Housing Limited, in reply to my enquiry of 5th April and Complaint of 1st March 2013 to Cornwall Council.

On the issue of a single mother with a baby Mr Warner confirmed “Our current Homechoice allocation policy allows for the nomination of a single parent with one child or baby to be eligible to bid for and be nominated for a 2 bedroom property”, unqoute.

On the issue of Bedroom Tax Mr Warner confirmed “It is my understanding that a single parent with one child or baby will not be treated as under occupying a two bedroom social housing property”, unquote.

Speaking as a Cornish Homechoice applicant who is bidding for 2 bedroom properties in order to better care for my wife who has mental illness and can no longer live on her own, I think it perverse of Cornwall Council to reward single parents with a baby or child below 3 years with a 2 bedroomed property for making a lifechoice decision thereby denying other Homechoice applicants who had no choice.

Statistics show single parents do in fact have babies to obtain social housing and that children from single parents will most likely end up making exactly the same mistakes as their parent. Statistics also show the UK has the highest rate of teenage births in Western Europe and which is far worse in the poorest areas. (Pre 2010 Report).

So why exactly does a single parent with a baby under the age of 3 need a 2 bedroom property ?

I am aware of no legislation which demands that a single parent with a baby or child under 3 must be eligible for and be nominated for a 2 bedroom property ?

If there is no legislation then Cornwall Council has chosen to give single parents with a baby or child under 3 an unfair advantage over other Homechoice applicants. Other applicants who may have a greater need of a 2 bedroom property but are being subjected to discrimination.

Why should a single parent be excluded from paying bedroom tax when the burden to pay is just as great on everyone else including couples living in a 2 bedroom property who will have to pay the tax regardless of the reasons why they need separate bedrooms. According to the Government single parents are financially responsible for their children.

Is Cornwall Council’s policy not preventing tenants downsizing to a 2 bedroom property, to avoid paying higher penalties and to free up 3 or 4 bedroom properties, by providing more of it’s 2 bedroom properties to single parents with a baby or child below the age of 3 ?

So what if, due to the present economic depression, greater numbers of single parents with a baby or child below 3 turn to the Council and are also made eligible for and are nominated for 2 bedroom properties. The availability of 2 bedroom properties will fall and the Council will start fiddling with it’s procedures to deny more genuine applicants qualifying for them.

When my wife was first assessed for Homechoice medical priority there was a CPN on the panel. My wife was awarded Low Priority and placed in the same category as alcoholics and drug abusers. We Appealed and the award remained at Low Priority, the only difference this time being there was no CPN on the panel. That the Appeal panel consisted only of members who knew nothing about mental illness or related issues and were employees of Cornwall Council. This I believe is one way to fiddle procedures and increase the possibility of more 2 bedroom properties being availabe to single parents with a baby or a child below 3.

The reality of this is it unfairly abuses the rights of the mentally ill and the disabled and denies them equality, a level playing field. As I understand it there are no such hurdles, obstacles or panels to prevent a single parent with a baby or child below 3 being eligible for and being nominated for a 2 bedroom property.

This somewhat dishonest, rigged, discriminatory, abusive, blatantly one sided and perverse sort of trophy is therefore awarded to Cornwall Council and Homechoice for discrimination.

Footnote : In reply to the absence of the CPN, Community Pychiatric Nurse, at Appeal Mr Warner would only say that “Normally a representative is present but obviously full attendance can not always be guaranteed due to leave, sickness etc.”, unquote.

As the Homechoice Manager West/Central Mr Warner had 28 days to ensure an appropriately trained representative in mental illness was on the Appeal panel to determine mental health issues in the interest of the applicant. If Mr Warner honestly thinks his explanation is adequate and removes whatever Duty of Care Homechoice and Cornwall Council had to my wife that day then they all need fucking help.

I also still await an apology from Rachel Lytham, Housing Needs Officer, for her numerous written false statements referring to me as an “ex husband”, unquote. This in contradiction to the information we supplied Homechoice and the letter of support Dr Anthony C Hereward’s supplied Homechoice which clearly stated a number of times I was my wife’s “husband”. A Letter of support Ms Lytham claimed she and every other panel member had read before it’s decision. Really !

Up-date 21/02/14 : My wife unfortunately died a month after this blog was written, of Cancer.

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