08/09/12...Thame MP denies being 'uncaring' of desperate family's plight -
THAME's MP, John Howell, has denied 'not caring' about the plight of a Thame family who say they have been denied benefits for the severely disabled husband who must go for a job interview first.
The Wood family's plight was all over the internet and local news channels yesterday after Alex Wood's wife, Tamsyn, issued a desperate statement about her family's situation since her husband's horrific brain injury in a rugby match last October. In her plea for help, Mrs Wood said: "After a few weeks now of insane trials, fighting against the benefits system, fighting for funding for Alex and my head spinning with where to go next....I am turning my fear for not being able to provide for my kids into rage and action....in the frontline now as I need help to get Alex the right rehabilitation, not at the mercy of the NHS and the fear that the indefinite funds will one day run out, and he will not have the chance he needs.
"I have to fight for him, I have to fight for my kids, any other mother out there in my situation would do the same.
"The local MP, John Howell, in Thame was not interested," she said. "One of his secretaries emailed me weeks after I sent a desperate plea, saying they did not deal with cases like mine, to go to the council. This does effect him actually, he is a government MP, under the noses of the government I am (as the child tax credits have been put on hold till I provide a particular piece of evidence) a mother of four under eights with no access to funds to feed my children."
In a statement to ThameNews.Net today, John Howell said: " I have looked at the blogspot and have every sympathy with the situation that the Wood family find themselves in. However it is entirely a misrepresentation to say that I am not interested in the case. Let me put the record straight.
"When constituents contact my office we take time to look at each individual case and try to determine the best route for them to get the help they need. This is exactly what we did in this case. Mrs Wood did indeed contact my office in April. She asked two specific questions; firstly, if we know of any financial support that could be offered and, secondly, if we could advise of possible housing routes. We, therefore, pointed Mrs Wood to those who would be in a position to help and advise her. At no time did anyone say we were not interested in helping Mrs Wood rather we tried to get her the most direct help available.
"Having pointed Mrs Wood in the right direction we have heard no more and we could only assume that the leads given had helped her. If Mrs Wood had come back to my office to say that these leads were not helpful we would certainly have tried to see if there was any more we could do. Indeed in complex cases we work hard to seek to ensure that all available support is given.
"I will not be responding in detail to any of the emails sent on behalf of the Woods family as we treat all cases with the confidentiality they deserve."
At the end of last night's news bulletin on BBC Oxford, where Mrs Wood revealed that she had only £9.50 left in her bank account, it was stated that Mrs Wood had been promised that benefits owed to her would be paid before mid-night.
LINK to Mrs Wood's full statement.
LINK to BBC Oxford's interview with Tamsyn Wood