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New Addington mum of five: 'I'd downsize if there was a property going'

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A MOTHER of five says she is desperate to do what the Government wants and move to a smaller home – if only she could find one.

Janet Couture is set to lose thousands of pounds a year in benefits and fears her family will be evicted.

The 42-year-old says she will no longer be able to afford the rent on her house in Queen Elizabeth's Drive in the wake of the "bedroom tax", which came into force this week.

The family will lose £40 a week in housing benefit because the Government deems her to have two "spare" rooms – her eldest son moved out last year while two of her children are expected to share.

The council is trying to find new homes for those needing to downsize, but hundreds are predicted to be affected by the tax.

Mrs Couture said: "The council has said we are on a list but there has been nothing so far. I cannot afford it so are they going to make us homeless? There are other people that need this place."

The family moved from Old Coulsdon a year ago, near to where Mrs Couture works as a mental health support worker. She said she has been off sick for about a month, waiting for an operation. Her husband looks after their four children, aged five, six, seven and twelve.

A council spokesman said: "We are working hard to match people like Ms Couture with a more suitable home and will help her move as soon as a property which meets her requirements becomes available.

"However, we expect more tenants will come forward in the coming months after the benefit changes have had effect."

He said the council was also working with Jobcentre Plus and the Citizens Advice Bureau to help tenants with their finances, benefits and finding jobs.

Funding for tenants would be considered on a case-by-case basis, he said, adding: "The council only seeks eviction as a last resort, and we work closely with tenants to help them avoid that."

New Addington mum of five: 'I'd downsize if there was a property going'


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