Bid to stop ‘unfair’ eviction in Grangemouth

A small humanitarian group is teaming up with a housing association to try to stop a Polish man being evicted.

Forth Valley Migrant Support Network (FMS) in Grangemouth, which represents people whose first language is not English, is concerned that some Eastern Europeans could lose their benefits if they fail to meet “unfair” criteria.

The fears have been brought to light since a Polish man was plunged into thousands of pounds of debt for unpaid rent after landing in a merry-go-round of unsuccessful benefit claims.

Now FMS and Link Housing Welfare are planning to appeal a decision into the man’s benefits.

Alan Gray from FMS said: “This man has been in the UK for almost eight years but became unemployed in October 2013 and was accepted on jobseekers allowance.

“He then became ill with clinical depression and applied for employment and support allowance which he was refused.

“Meanwhile the single guy goes seven months without any benefit, living most of that without gas and electricity adding to his misery and making us all concerned over his future.”

But Mr Gray added that he fears any appeal will not go through in time for the man to keep his home.

Mr Gray added: “These appeals take months, and he doesn’t have months before they will have to evict him for not paying the rent.

“Basically a guy who has worked here, paid into the system and has taken ill while on jobseekers is not getting any money and that’s totally unfair.”

However, the Department for Work and Pensions says that it has already considered a review of the man’s case and has upheld its decision to refuse benefits.

The DWP added that all claimants must satisfy certain eligibility conditions for their right to claim benefits in this country, conditions that have been tightened since 2014.

A spokeswoman said: “If anyone has been turned down for benefits and can provide more information, they can ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

“People who disagree with a decision made on their claim can appeal to her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service.”