‘I had to stop eating to pay bedroom tax’ claims Morley woman

Julie Rushforth from Morley says she had to choose between food or paying her bedroom tax. 'd302a346
Julie Rushforth from Morley says she had to choose between food or paying her bedroom tax. 'd302a346

A former carer from Morley who is too ill to work says she had to stop eating in order to afford the bedroom tax.

Julie Rushforth, 49, of The Gills, dedicated her life to caring for the elderly until she was diagnosed with chronic arthritis.

Miss Rushforth was at work in a residential home when she said her back “just crumbled”.

“We didn’t have a hoist and I would be working on a night, turning patients over,” she said.

Doctors told her she would never walk again but Miss Rushforth beat the odds.

“I’m a Morley girl, born and bred, and I thought by god, I will walk again.”

However the mother-of-two, who also suffers from bipolar disorder, was faced with yet another challenge when the bedroom tax was introduced in March this year.

“Initially when I was paying it I wasn’t eating, which affected my arthritis and iron levels,” said Miss Rushforth who contacted Morley councillor Robert Finnigan for help.

Coun Finnigan asked Aire Valley Homes, which then managed council property in Morley, to send someone out to visit Miss Rushforth at her home.

As a result Aire Valley Homes froze her bedroom tax until March next year.

Mrs Rushforth said: “Aire Valley Homes have been fantastic. She (the employee) deserves a medal.”

She is now looking for a one-bed ground floor flat but is concerned that there will no longer be space for a carer after-hours.

She added that there are thousands more people in her situation who need adapted houses and an extra bedroom.

“The bedroom tax should be abolished. It’s disgusting,” she said.