Father wants help to get back to work

A FELIXSTOWE father is urging government to do more to help people get back into work after finding he lost more benefits than he earned.

A FELIXSTOWE father is urging government to do more to help people get back into work after finding he lost more benefits than he earned.

Single-parent Nicholas Endean, 40, had to give up his job because he lost housing benefit, council tax help and other benefits yet his pay didn't cover what he had been receiving.

Mr Endean, of Elizabeth Way, had been suffering from mental illness and wanted to ease himself back into the workplace so he accepted a cleaning job with a company in the port area.

“I have had anxiety problems, though I have been able to continue studying for a degree in digital media so I can teach,” said Mr Endean, who lives with his five-year-old daughter Sophie.

“It was just a question of getting back into the workplace, having a job to help me to get used to being with people and doing something.

“I was told I might be about �5 a week worse off and thought I could manage that and it would be fine.

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“But after a few weeks I found I was losing half the money for my �72 rent and the council tax allowance would be affected and other benefits.

“It meant I was worse off working than I had been on benefits. I had to give up the job - the worry it was putting me in debt was making me worse when I had hoped to use the experience to improve my health.”

Mr Endean said he may also now have to pay back some benefits he received while working for two-and-a-half months.

“The government really needs to look at this - they are encouraging people to go back to work but need to make sure it is worthwhile. People still need support and I was given bad information,” he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said the government was doing everything possible to encourage people who have been out of work through illness or disability to get back into the workplace, including bringing in the new employment and support allowance.

Although he could not comment on individual cases, he suggested Mr Endean contact Felixstowe Jobcentre Plus to arrange an interview with an advisor who could calculate how many hours and for what pay he could work, taking into account benefits and the impact working would have on how much he received.

Have you found working doesn't pay? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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