UK

Carer Wendy Holt Told To Leave Council House Because She Is 'Not Efficient Use Of Resources'

07/06/2013 15:47 BST | Updated 07/06/2013 15:49 BST
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File photo dated 12/07/12 of an aerial view of houses on residential streets in east London as millions of low-income households face a steep rise in their council tax bills from April, according to research published, aome 74\% of local authorities in England are planning to increase their demands on families whose council tax is currently discounted or even covered in full by the Government.

A woman who cared for her sick mother for 20 years has failed to persuade senior judges to allow her to stay in the three-bedroom council house where she has always lived.

Wendy Holt was told by the council to leave her home in Reading and move to a one-bedroom property "more suited to her needs".

Three appeal judges concluded that Reading Borough Council was faced with a "huge demand" for three-bedroomed houses and was right to take the view that allowing Ms Holt to stay was not an "efficient use of resources".

A judge at sitting at Reading County Court decided in favour of the council and the Court of Appeal refused to overturn that decision, following a hearing in London on Friday.

Appeal judges heard that Ms Holt's father - Second World War veteran Arthur Holt - was granted the tenancy of the house in 1949.

He died in 1977 aged 62 and the tenancy passed to her mother, Edna, who died aged 90 three years ago.

Judges heard that Mrs Holt suffered a series of strokes, then developed Alzheimer's disease and become "increasingly confused and aggressive". And Ms Holt had been her "sole carer", day and night, for two decades.

Ms Holt said she did not want to leave the house because it contained a "lifetime of belongings" and she was "deeply attached to it".

Her doctor said she "felt secure there" and was "very low and anxious about having to move".

But judges said Ms Holt was, in the council's "terminology", an "under occupier".

Council officials suggested that she ought to apply for smaller accommodation - and sought possession.

The county court judge decided that the council acted reasonably and concluded that the "needs of others" outweighed Ms Holt's "personal circumstances". The judge said there was no "satisfactory evidence" to show a move would "prejudice Ms Holt's mental health".

Appeal judges Lady Justice Arden, Lord Justice Kitchin and Sir David Keene said the county court judge made "no error of principle" and dismissed Ms Holt's appeal.

"I am terribly disappointed," said Ms Holt after today's ruling. "I have been here all my life - nearly 60 years.

"My father moved into the house after serving in the war. He had been a chef in the RAF. I looked after my mother when she had really bad dementia. You'd think there would be some consideration."

She added: "I'm hoping I can appeal to the Supreme Court. There's a small chance. It depends if I can get legal aid. I'm not sure."