- Mr. Geoff Raw: Acting Chief Executive Brighton & Hove City Council
- Mr. Keith Glazier: Leader of East Sussex County Council
- Cllr Dave E: Deputy Leader East Sussex County Council
CALL OFF YOUR DOGS.
Please Sir, I implore you, call off your dogs...
I’m an law abiding citizen, born and bred in Brighton and Hove. Orphaned in 2001, I'm now a father of two young children, living in a council house in Moulsecoomb and eking out a living as a freelance copywriter.
Entitled to take on work to supplement my freelance work, between September to October 2015, I took on agency employment working for the Royal Mail in Brighton.
Due to tax paid during this period the housing benefit which was paid on my council house was stopped.
The broken promises made by Royal Mail of guaranteed work up to Christmas/New Year and an offer of a job in 2016, turned to nothing and after 6 weeks I found myself with no job looking for work.
It was during this six week period that the housing benefit was stopped and rent of £86.00 was charged on a weekly basis.
This was during this period that I got walloped with a massive fine for £719 from the Brighton and Hove Parking Department.
Since the new parking permit rules were introduced in 2013, I found myself in difficulty in completing the necessary paper work.
I had completed the necessary form and having taken it to the appropriate office to get a permit, was told I needed a V50. For the life of me I didn't know what a V50 was. (It turned out I needed a V2; perhaps its due to my dyslexia that I hadn't a clue what either a V50 or V2 was. The DVLA confirmed the vehicle was registered in my name; what more was required?)
It was also during this period that my mother-in-law was dying from Cancer and the relationship with my partner was breaking down.
I was under considerable stress and strain and repeatedly wrote letters and made telephone calls to the Parking Department asking for help and assistance in completing the necessary forms to obtain a parking permit.
While this was going on I was repeatedly being issued with parking fines between £30-£70, even though my vehicle was legally parked outside my house, MOT’d, insured and taxed.
Again I repeat, on numerous occasions I appealed the parking fines on the grounds that I didn't understand what was required to obtain the parking permit and appealed for assistance to help me.
On numerous occasions the parking fines were dismissed but still the parking fines continued to be issued causing me considerable stress and strain, compounded with the death of my mother-in-law and the relationship breakdown between me and my partner.
I refer to this because the rent could have been paid during this period if Brighton and Hove Parking Department haven't towed away my car forcing me to pay £719 to get it back.
Again I reiterate; the vehicle was legally parked outside my house, fully insured, MOT’d and taxed but still I was continually fined for not displaying a parking permit, which I didn't understand how to get and which I had asked the parking department on numerous occasions to help and assist me.
I intend to make further complaints on this matter with the goal of having a full refund of £719 in due course.
Back to the Housing dispute.
Having stopped working for Royal Mail in November I returned to copywriting in which I wasn't earning a living wage and took on any freelance work I could get my hands on.
It was during this time that I was notified by the housing department that the housing benefit had been stopped and that I'd have to make a new claim to continue having the housing benefit paid.
I duly made a new housing benefit claim, providing the comprehensive information which was required on the claim form.
Weeks later I was issued a Notice of Repossession due to the fact that the Housing claim hadn't fully been processed.
Since then it was been one thing after another.
First you required all my wage slips from Manpower (The agency I worked for via Royal Mail).
- I provided a summary of the wage slips which was accepted.
Second the summary of wage slips was deemed to be insufficient and every individual wage slip was required.
- I provided each and every wage slips and requested and this was accepted.
Thirdly a P45 was required from Manpower. While Manpower said they had sent me my P45 I hadn't received it and was informed a replacement could not be issued. This was explained to the Housing Benefit via Christopher Percival and an email stating my end date was said to be acceptable.
- I provided an email from Manpower stating the start and end date.
Fourthly an email from Manpower stating my start and termination date was required and I had to explain that this information had already been sent and had been accepted.
Now baring in mind I was assured that the Housing Benefit would be completed once a summary of my Manpower wage slips was provided, I was becoming exasperated that further additional information was required.
It was during this period that I had to file my Tax return. The Working Tax credits had contacted me demanding I justify my work rate in claiming for Working Tax credit. Consequently both myself and partner had to complete considerable paper work detailing what we did to earn money for the last 12 weeks.
No wonder I had no time to concentrate on finding self employed work when all my time was being spent on completing bureaucracy for the Government.
So when Christopher Percival demanded both my partner and I had to complete a self employment form, I found myself at the end of my tether and feeling somewhat victimised against.
But still, I put on a brave face, and considering there is a possession order hanging over us which could result in our council house being taken away and my children made homeless, I completed the Self Employment form as required.
Now, Christopher Percival wants even more information. Having made a web search on my company name and picking up now defunct websites advertising for chauffeur and cleaning services which I advertised years ago, I am being made to explain myself further, to provide all my bank statements since 2013 and explain why I earn such a pitiful amount as a copywriter.
I'm at the end of my tether and feel suicidal.
I have nothing to hide by making my application but feel I am being made a scape-goat to justify Christopher Percival employment.
Where's my right of privacy?
Christopher Percival is saying jump; and I'm replying “Yes Sir, how high?”
Then he says jump higher, “Yes Sir, how high?”
Now jump higher; “Yes Sir, is this high enough?”
Higher, higher, higher...
I'm feeling victimised against, harassed and played like a fool.
Because the Council house is registered in my name, I'm unable to sign the property over to my partner and I'm unable to move out and claim assistance from the Council in finding alternative accommodation because it would mean declaring myself intentionally homeless.
If truth be known I am existing in a verbally abusive relationship, in which my ex-partner hates my presence in the housing and wants me out ASAP.
I’m positive I can earn a suitable income as a freelance writer if I was able to write. I find myself in an impossible position of wanting to move out but unable to. I need to find suitable employment and I’m happy to stop my self employed status forthwith.
It doesn't help me in anyway to suffer the constant harassment of Christopher Percival continually demanding more and more paper work to justify his own existence. We all know jobs will be lost in Brighton and Hove City Council and it seems to me that Christopher Percival is using me as an excuse to justify his own job and contribution to Brighton and Hove City Council.
Having to explain myself further and obtain my bank statements since 2013 will incur extra costs for me and waste time when I should be looking for work to feed my kids.
This is infuriating and I'm at the end of my tether.
- My sister is homeless sleeping on the streets.
- I've been defrauded out of £719 by Brighton and Hove Parking Department, for legally parking my car outside my house, fully insured, MOT’d and taxed.
- I am being harassed by Christopher Percival from the Housing Benefit department to provide paperwork for no other reason to justify his own job.
- I'm in an abusive relationship which is having a detrimental effect on my children, myself and Karina.
- I have a Notice of Possession order hanging over the house.
- And now you want me to explain why defunct websites are still on the Internet, 3 years worth of back bank statements and to explain why I’m earning such a pitiful income...
Thanks for nothing Brighton and Hove City Council, you sure know how to make a man feel suicidal.
Please can you do me a favour and call of the Dogs....
Acting Chief Executive Brighton & Hove City Council
I am the Leader of East Sussex County Council
Cllr Dave E
Deputy Leader East Sussex County Council ,