PENSIONER Karl Dallas has gone on hunger strike after receiving a demand for more than £5,500 from the Department of Work and Pensions.

The 84-year-old, from Church Green, Manningham, sat outside the DWP offices at Westfield House in Manningham Lane today armed with a placard to raise public awareness of his plight.

Mr Dallas said he was at the end of his tether trying to get the DWP to explain why it believed it had overpaid his pension credits since 2008.

"Nothing has changed since then. If they think there is something different then they need to tell me what it is because I don't have a clue. Everything has stayed the same, there has been no change of circumstances I should have told them about. I don't have all that money to hand over and even if I did, I wouldn't give it to them until they can explain it to me and justify it. It's just nonsense."

He added: "There has been no change in my circumstances since I retired from full-time freelance journalism in 1998. I have declared all my royalty and other incomes to the Inland Revenue but they have advised me that because the sums are fairly small, I do not need to submit an annual return."

The singer-songwriter, who is a retired freelance journalist and a well-known campaigner for peace and justice, said hunger strike was the only option left to him and despite bad health he would keep it up until he got answers.

He said a number of phone calls to DWP helplines and advisors got lost in transfer and even cut-off completely then a home appointment this week lasted just a few minutes because the man who came said he had other appointments to go to.

"I was advised to set aside the whole morning for the meeting. I sorted out all my income and expenditure paperwork to help us but the man said he was merely delivering two letters. He did not wish to see any of the papers I had prepared for him and said he could not stay longer than a few minutes since he had other similar calls to make during the morning.

"The two letters stated I had been overpaid because my circumstances changed and the office that paid my benefit was not told at the correct time that my Occupational Pension was in payment, whatever that may mean. They are demanding payment of £4,992.40 and £684.36, that is £5,676.76 in total. The DWP representative could not advise me what the alleged change in my circumstances was. As he left the house I was still explaining my situation, but he walked away without listening to me."

And he added: "Judging by the haste he left to get to his next appointments, it would appear that I am not alone in being trapped in this spider's web of dead ends.

As a lifelong activist for peace and justice I am not prepared to put up with this. I urge anyone else in a similar situation to join me in this campaign."

A spokesman for the DWP said: "It is essential that claimants declare their income and savings accurately. This is to ensure that support is targeted at the people that need it most.”

Anyone wanting to support Mr Dallas should get in touch with him at