Disabled Lapworth woman faced with another delay in long-running dispute with council

Jenny Morgan, who is in a long-running dispute about housing benefit with district council. In the latest liability order - she says - bailiffs were told to impound her two dogs! They are Tillie a border terrier and Thistle, a mongrel. Keep Trade Local photoshoot with Chris White MP. Also pictured are Clemens Street greengrocer John Clarke and Brian Dormer FTA. MHLC-06-12-13 Local Trade Dec9 ENGNNL00120130612144725
Jenny Morgan, who is in a long-running dispute about housing benefit with district council. In the latest liability order - she says - bailiffs were told to impound her two dogs! They are Tillie a border terrier and Thistle, a mongrel. Keep Trade Local photoshoot with Chris White MP. Also pictured are Clemens Street greengrocer John Clarke and Brian Dormer FTA. MHLC-06-12-13 Local Trade Dec9 ENGNNL00120130612144725

A disabled woman who has being doing battle with Warwick District Council for nine years has been 
faced with another delay.

Jenny Morgan has been asked to pay back at least £13,000 in alleged overpaid housing benefits which she insists she does not owe.

At a Valuation Tribunal in Birmingham last Wednesday Professor Graham Zellick heard from a barrister speaking on behalf of the district council about how nobody should be above the law.

Mrs Morgan, who lives in Lapworth and has exhausted what funds she had in previous court cases, was represented by Alan Mundie of the legal advice charity Nucleus Legal Advice.

He sees her case as pivotal to interpretations of the law on councils offering discretionary grants.

Last year ten district councillors signed a letter to chief executive Chris Elliott urging him to drop the case against the pensioner, who over the years has fallen into ill health.

But Mr Elliott has insisted that it is important the public see that those who claim benefits to which they are not entitled should feel the weight of the law.

The problem is the law so far has sometimes found in favour of Mrs Morgan and sometimes in favour of the district council.

Mr Mundie, who is based in London, has gone on record as saying the pursuit of Mrs Morgan though the courts has been a total waste of taxpayers’ money.

He said: “As far as we are concerned this has turned into a test case on the council’s ability to make discretionary grants on council tax - something which used to happen under the old rates system.

“I would certainly argue that Mrs Morgan was entitled to a reduction and should not have had her case dragging on for so many years. It is little short of a disgrace.”

Warwick District Council officers believe they have a strong case which was presented over six hours by a barrister, their solicitor and two senior officers.

After listening to the legal arguments Professor Zellick said he would deliver his verdict in a month’s time.

Mrs Morgan said: “The council could give me discretionary relief on my council tax. The hearing last week was a fiasco as far as I’m concerned and a complete waste of my time not to mention district taxpayers’ money.”