Dispatch district man says he's being discriminated against for not being in debt

A Bulwell man has accused Nottingham City Council of discriminating against him for being good with his money.

By John Smith
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 3:08 pm

Adrian Hardy has complained that he was turned down for the council’s fuel voucher scheme because he didn’t meet criteria he says is unfair.

But the council said the rules and criteria for qualifying for the benefit were clear and Mr Hardy did not meet them.

To be approved for a fuel voucher, a resident needs to be in receipt of council tax support and also either be a pre-payment customer with £50 or less credit on their pre-payment meter or be a credit billing customer with £20 or more owing on their last statement.

Adrian Hardy feels he is being denied a council fuel benefit because he is not in debt

Mr Hardy has various health issues, including diabetes and says he needs to keep his heating on his house more often to avoid feeling the cold and becoming ill.

And as a result, he applied for the fuel voucher to help with the extra heating costs but was turned down because, as he sees it, he is good with his money and not in debt.

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He said: “It’s just not right, if I was in debt and owing money, the council would give me that voucher but because I’m good with my money and not in debt, I can’t have this.

"I need to have my heating on and I get council tax support so I should be allowed to have this voucher too.

"I am on the same benefits as the people who are getting this but I am being refused because I manage my money better that these people – that’s discrimination in my view.

“Like most of the people I know on benefits, I also do not smoke or drink.

“At the end of the day, we are all in the same boat and I have been refused because I am not in debt.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “I appreciate that Mr Hardy is frustrated that he has not received one of these grants, but it’s important to be clear that he’s been assessed in the same way as everyone else and found not to be eligible at present.

"The criteria is set by the council in line with Government expectations of how this grant should be allocated, which is to support those residents in fuel poverty.”