4:20pm Friday 7th December 2012
By Tim Ridgway
A pensioner has cancelled her council tax payments blaming the “appalling” approach by authorities to supporting vulnerable people.
Jane O’Hea claims she is “incapacitated” by emphysema, a lung condition which means she can only walk a very short distance.
To get around and keep her mind active, the 77-year-old, who lives alone in a flat in Wilbury Road, Hove, claims she has to take taxis to various events.
However, when she asked Brighton and Hove City Council for some financial support, she was told it was only able to offer her £70 in taxi vouchers a year – as well as giving up her bus pass.
This is despite her spending about £50 a week on the cab fares.
Ms O’Hea said she is “appalled” at how England treats its elderly and vulnerable people and has cancelled her council tax payments in protest.
Offer of help
After being contacted by The Argus, the local authority has said its adult social care team has been in touch to offer her help.
But Ms O’Hea, who is a former medical secretary, claims it is not enough.
She said: “I really cannot believe this can possibly be considered of any help to me.
Doctor appointments “I cannot go anywhere at all now without using a taxi.
“I am an OAP, I am on a fixed income, I have a very small pension.
“I do not have the money to pay the council £96 a month.
“I am absolutely furious, it is quite unbelievable.”
Among the activities she attends are bridge club and community lunches, as well as regular doctor appointments.
Each journey costs about £5 each way.
She said: “If I didn’t do them then I would go insane. I live alone you see and it’s the only support I get.”
Ms O’Hea, who moved to Sussex in 2010, said she does nothing at weekends.
A council spokesman said: “Our adult social care team has been in touch with Ms O’Hea and has offered her support.
“Our council tax team is currently looking into Ms O’Hea’s council tax situation in liaison with adult social care staff.”
He added the council was unable to comment on individual cases when it came to council tax payments.
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