Disabled Scottish man ‘sat in car for hours’ to keep warm after 6-month wait for council to fix broken window

Disabled man forced to freeze as council stalls on window repair

George Watt says the temperature regularly dips below zero in his home since the window became broken.

A disabled council tenant claims he has been forced to sit in his car for hours at a time after waiting months for Edinburgh City Council to fix his window.

George Watt, 63, says the temperature in his home has regularly dropped to below zero since an attempted break-in at his home in September 2019 left his kitchen window broken.

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He said: “I have to sit in my car all day to keep warm.”

The damaged window has been left for nearly half a year and Mr Watt often seeks refuge in his car, running the engine and using its heater fan.

He said: “My house is

freezing, it was minus 1.5 degrees Celsius this morning and I am having to wear my jacket and boots around the house or else go and sit in my car.”

While the cold makes the medically-retired Mr Watt’s flat “extremely uncomfortable” he is more concerned about his safety.

Mr Watt lives alone in The Inch and has a condition called cauda equina syndrome which causes extreme pain in his spine and the back of his legs.

Registered as disabled, he walks with two crutches as the syndrome has caused paralysis in his right leg. Already feeling vulnerable because of his disabilities, Mr Watt said the broken window has caused him to feel scared in his own home.

He said: “I live alone and I’m terrified another thief is going to get through my window and will get in because it’s been left unfixed. I am scared in my own home and I have not been sleeping at all. ”

The unidentified thieves attempted to get into the property on Monday, September 9, 2019, while Mr Watt was out at his local shops. After contacting Police Scotland and still in shock, Mr Watt reported the damage to the council repairs officials who attended the property on the same day to “patch-up” the window.

However, this was only a temporary fix and the council said that they would be back out later in the week to secure the window permanently.

For the last six months, Mr Watt has phoned the council every week to try and get the window fixed and says that he has been passed from person to person with no solution offered.

He claims that for the past fortnight, officials have been ignoring his calls, leaving him angry and frustrated.

Mr Watt said: “It’s a joke, I phone up each week and am told that I will be phoned back that day and it never happens and now they are ignoring my calls.

“I have completely lost faith in the district council. They should be putting tenants’ safety first but instead, they are putting themselves and their agenda first.”

A council spokesperson said: “We apologise for the delay in replacing the damaged window following the temporary repair to make it safe. We will ensure that a new window is fitted as soon as possible. An engineer visited the property today to fix the faulty heating.”

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