Disabled man ‘stocking up groceries for winter’ after failing to get £150 tax refund

Mark Parker, 56, has said he’s being kept up at night because he’s terrified of what might come this winter and whether he’s having to choose between eating out or heating his south London flat

Markus Parker,
Mark Parker at his London flat

A disabled man has said he is “already hoarding groceries for the winter” after not receiving his £150 tax refund.

Mark Parker, from Lambeth, south London, said he was “worried all the time” about the deepening cost of living crisis.

Additionally, he is furious at his council’s inability to distribute the rebate to residents, who he said “need the money most”. My London reported it.

The 56-year-old has been unable to work for over a year due to a mobility problem and as such is on Employment Assistance Allowance (ESA).

And now he’s so scared of rising fuel prices that he’s already started stockpiling non-perishable food for the winter.

The 56-year-old is horrified to see how the price of his grocery store has risen


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He worries he’ll soon have to make a choice between “turning on the lights or buying a meal.”

Mark said: “Now when I go to the supermarket, everything is gone.

“My LIDL shop recently was much more than I expected, much more than before. I was really surprised.”

Mark said he was afraid government regulations, like the £150 rebate, would not be enough in the winter.

“I don’t want to go back to this place where I have to choose between staying warm and eating something,” Mark said.

He worries that the cost of living crisis will reach the point where he will have to choose between eating and heating his home


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He added: “It’s going to get a lot worse, I know that.

“I’m barely able to afford my shop, but I’m already thinking about making cuts so I have savings and groceries for the winter.”

Mark said he’s renounced all luxuries and already stocks his pantry with a few extra items to prepare for winter every time he goes grocery shopping.

The 56-year-old even compared the livelihood crisis to going through “the war”.

He added, “I worry about it all the time.”

“I have trouble sleeping because I know it’s coming.

“I’m really really worried because I don’t know how bad it’s going to get or how much help they’re going to give us.”

Mark also said he didn’t receive his one-off tax refund but was informed he would receive it sometime in June


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Mark said he was particularly concerned as he has yet to receive his £150 tax refund, which he has been banking on to ease the financial burden of the past two months.

He said thousands of other residents paying full council tax have already received their rebates by direct debit from Lambeth Council, while those receiving full support are still waiting.

In February, the UK government announced it would give a one-off payment of £150 to taxable council taxpayers in council tax brackets A to D to offer “immediate relief” in the face of rising energy bills.

Payments would also be made to residents of those properties who are exempt from paying council tax, like Mark.

Councils have been advised by the government to pay out the rebates “as soon as possible from April”, although they have until September 30 to pay them.

Mark said he has now been informed he will receive a barcoded letter sometime in June which he can take to his post office to receive his £150 in cash.

But he’s furious that he didn’t receive the money faster and by direct debit than other Lambeth residents.

“I just don’t think they recognized that it’s affecting the worst affected people,” said Mark, who claims he didn’t know until last Friday (10 about.

He added: “I just don’t know if I’ll get it in time to pay my bills, whether I’ll default or not.

“I just don’t trust [the council] I can no longer rely on them.”

“How Lambeth rolled out the scheme is not unique to council alone, and the government has asked councils to focus on direct debit payments in the first round of payments.”

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A Lambeth Council spokesman said: “Lambeth Council has paid out more than £10.8million in Council for Energy tax refunds to 72,200 households in the county ahead of the Government’s September 30 deadline for granting this support.

“Lambeth Council has also set up a £4.3million Living Crisis Fund to help those suffering most from rising prices.

“In the case highlighted, the resident will shortly be given instructions on how to collect the £150 from their nearest post office.

“We have set up a dedicated phone line and email address and posted details on our website so that our residents understand how these payments are made.

“Residents who are struggling to pay bills or afford groceries can access Lambeth’s Household Support Scheme, which is open and offers a variety of support for those in need due to the cost of living crisis.

“Direct debits were paid the fastest because this system was already established. We’ve worked hard to set up a secure and accessible payment system for those who don’t pay by direct debit.”

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/disabled-man-stockpiling-food-winter-27258537 Disabled man 'stocking up groceries for winter' after failing to get £150 tax refund

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