Dear Dr Offord,
I understand that recently you acknowledged my situation in parliament about which you made the following statement:
“The most shocking aspect of that to Government Members is that the Government are paying a 17-year-old to live in a two-bedroom flat. I wonder how many of my 17-year-old constituents would like a two-bedroom flat paid for them.
Firstly I would like to say that I am extremely shocked at your sheer lack of understanding towards my situation. Before you are entitled to make such a judgement you should seriously consider my circumstances. If you do not understand my circumstances then you are definitely not qualified to make any form of judgement on my case.
In response to what you said, I would like to say this. How many of your 17 year old constitutions would like to endure the extremely difficult events which built up to me being made homeless and struggling below the line of poverty?
Your statements makes it sound like my situation is a positive thing – almost like the fact I was made homeless, and had no choice to take a two bedroom flat as a result of sheer desperation, is a good thing.
Let me tell you, my situation is certainly far from a good thing.
I do not LIKE the fact I was given no choice but to live in a flat which is paid for by the government. I do not LIKE the fact that I am being penalised for hardships which I have faced through no fault of my own. I do not LIKE the fact that people such as yourselves are standing up in parliament judging my situation when you do not know the full extent of it.
It is not like I am sitting around doing NOTHING with my life and expecting the government to help me out. I believe I am entitled to the same chance of a future as every other person my age – whether they live with their parents or independently.
I get up every day and attend 6th form full time where I am studying for my A levels – all in an attempt to better my future and increase my chances of finding a job. Why should I suffer no education because I was made homeless? Everyone should be treated equally; therefore it should not matter whether I am living independently or with family. I should still deserve an equal chance in life.
Would you prefer that I was living with a foster carer in which the government be paying way more than £56 per week income support for someone to look after me? It would cost the government far more to put me into care than it is costing them to temporarily assist me to live on my own.
I am not obliged to divulge the sheer trauma of my past with you, or explain to you why I as made homeless; however you should take into consideration it was truly not my fault, and if I had a magic wand I would live with my family and not endure the suffering which I have no choice but to.”
Bedroom Tax letter : http://chionwurahmp.com/?p=2736