Cash-strapped Eric hopes course will be just the job

GRIEVING ... Eric Lugg with a photo of his late wife Corrie.
GRIEVING ... Eric Lugg with a photo of his late wife Corrie.

A GRIEVING South Tynesider threatened with homelessness after returning to the UK is now hopeful of solving his money troubles by landing a job.

Eric Lugg faced a cash crisis after returning from Holland to his home town of Jarrow, following the death of his Dutch wife, Corrie.

Because he does not satisfy new, tougher UK residency rules, Mr Lugg cannot claim benefits and feared he would lose his rented flat in St Paul’s Road.

He was left with literally just a few pounds in his pocket and had to rely on the support of friends.

But now things are looking up for Mr Lugg, and he hopes to secure work as a forklift truck driver within the next few weeks.

Mr Lugg was thrown a possible lifeline after his story appeared on the Gazette’s front page last month and also following numerous online job applications.

He now hopes to land a permanent job with a factory supplying the Nissan car plant in Washington.

The 57-year-old said: “I have already had one interview with a contractor near the Nissan plant in Washington, and I am going on a two-week course through Gateshead College.

“If I successfully complete the course, they have told me I have a 99 per cent chance of being taken on by the firm, which is great news.

“Plus, the person who owns my flat has said they will give me a couple of weeks’ leeway, as long as I find work and can pay the rent.

“I am more hopeful now and just want to get through the course and start full-time work.”

Although he is a British passport holder, Mr Lugg did not meet new residency guidelines, leading to his application for jobseeeker’s allowance being rejected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Mr Lugg lived for five years in Breda in southern Holland, working in the building trade, but after his wife died late last year, he decided to return to his native South Tyneside to be nearer relatives.

The new DWP rules, in force since January this year, require someone to have been living here for three months before they can take a habitual residence test.

The rules apply to both migrants from the European economic area looking for work and British nationals like Mr Lugg returning to the UK after a period of living abroad.

Twitter: @terrykelly16