A DISABLED man from Salisbury has gathered more than 12,000 signatures in support of his campaign against the bedroom tax.

John Ingleson, 58, who has an illness and has suffered side effects that left him unable to work following chemotherapy in 2005, is disgusted with the Government’s bedroom tax scheme.

He says it is forcing disabled people and poor families out of their homes because they can no longer pay their rent after cuts to their housing benefits.

The former IT consultant kept his two-bedroom property, which he has lived in for four years, but faced a 14 per cent cut in his housing benefits in April this year due to the Government’s new policy on under-occupancy in council and housing association homes.

He said: “660,000 people are affected, half of those are disabled and a lot of them are working but the Government is demonising the poor and the disabled.”

Mr Ingleson says people affected have few choices – they can try moving to a smaller place, which in his case would involvemoving to private rented accommodation which the council would have to pay more money towards, take in a lodger, which he cannot do due to his mental health issues, or find another way to cover the benefit cut.

He said he will probably have to use his disability living allowance, a payment which is intended to help cope with day-to-day issues such as transport, to cover the shortfall so he can stay in his home.

Discretionary housing payments can help, but Mr Ingleson said there is not enough money to go round.

His petition, available to sign at you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-bedroom-tax-3, currently has 12,780 signatures and when it reaches 15,000 he plans to deliver it to Downing Street in person.

Salisbury is also set to take part in The Mass Sleep Out, a UK-wide protest taking place in more than 40 cities and towns on August 24 to raise awareness of the impending homelessness people fear the bedroom tax will cause.

Organisers are in the early stages of planning the event but hope to release more details soon. A facebook page, The Mass Sleep Out Salisbury, has also been set up.