'Bedroom tax' fight for Greenock epilepsy victim

Published: 7 Jun 2013 12:00

AN EPILEPSY sufferer from Greenock who suffers six seizures a day and is trapped at home faces a new battle - with the 'bedroom tax'.

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The Tele revealed on Wednesday how Michelle Murchie fears that long-awaited and potentially life-changing surgery to remove a cyst on her brain may never happen after a specialist surgeon suddenly quit his post.

The 26-year-old, who has suffered from epilepsy since the age of 12, says her condition is so severe that she is too scared to leave her house.

Michelle and husband Graeme, pictured - who had to quit his full-time job to look after his wife - have been tormented by the epilepsy and agonising wait for surgery.

But now the couple are fighting another struggle as they are hit by the effects of the UK Government's controversial 'bedroom tax'.

The Murchie's are being forced to pay £14 a week for the extra bedroom in their Greenock home - despite the fact that Michelle's husband has to sleep there due to her condition.

Graeme, 38, said: "The epilepsy alone is hard to deal with and now we've been hit with the bedroom tax.

"We're not eligible for discretionary relief payments and we've been told Michelle's condition doesn't qualify.

"I can't sleep next to her in case she has a fit during the night and injures me."

On Wednesday, the Tele told how council bosses had been forced to widen the availability of a crisis fund to aid more hard-up families affected by the bedroom tax.

More than 300 people have applied for discretionary housing payments to stop them falling into rent arrears since the charge was introduced in April.

Despite the financial help from the council, 103 applications were rejected and only 39 families qualified for help from the £200,000 pot.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said: "There is no doubt people are starting to feel the financial pressures of welfare reform."

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