Housing no benefit to start up Lee

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LEE ‘Scratch’ Powell set up a record company after losing his job, but his struggle for success was hampered by a two-month wait for housing benefit.

The 30-year-old says he spent all his £4,000 savings before signing on and claiming Job Seekers and housing benefit.

But after a few months without finding work he decided desperate times needed revolutionary action - and Itchy Pig was born.

Today he says it has produced 27 releases, including two albums, as well as EPs and singles.

But twice a week since February 25 he says he’s had to take time out and go to the housing benefit office to try to get the money he was promised - so far without success.

Lee, of Meersbrook Avenue, Norton Lees, said: “It has got to the stage now that I am soon to be evicted as my landlord is receiving no rent.

“Starting any business from scratch is hard work, but the housing department said I would still be able to claim and it was straightforward to change over once self employment begins.

“They told me it was a simple procedure, yet it has taken two months and still it is nowhere near being sorted.

“They say they don’t need any more information, then they say to fill in another form. Every time it’s a different story. I have spent nearly £60 in phone calls speaking to the DWP and the local housing authorities. I seem to be fighting a losing battle.”

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A council spokesman said: “We offer our sincere apologies to Mr Powell for the delay.

“Self employed cases are rarely as easy to process as other types of claims, but given the circumstances of this particular claim, it’s disappointing that it took seven weeks to process.”