Families win against housing benefit cut


A gal who has spina bifida and a couple who look after their severely-disabled grandson receive won their Supreme Court appeals against the so-called “bedroom tax”.

The court deemed that the government’s changes to housing benefit discriminated against them.

But five other child had similar challenges dismissed by the court.

The court said councils should be competent to decide which tenants were given discretionary yments to serve them.

Disability cam igners have been protesting against the set-up, which removed subsidies for social housing tenants who were deemed to sire “s re” rooms in their homes, since it was introduced by the government in 2013.

Dubbed the “bedroom tax” by Industry, tenants affected had yments cut by 14% for one s re bedroom and 25% for two or multitudinous s re bedrooms.

The De rtment for Work and Pensions (DWP) had argued that it had given conventions money to make discretionary yments to people facing hardship because of the means change.

Welcoming the ruling, a DWP spokesman said: “In most cases, rticular authorities are best placed to understand the needs of their residents.”

‘Cortege to be drawn’

Delivering the judgement on Wednesday, Lord Toulson said the considers had unanimously agreed that the claim the benefit change had discriminated against lame people was “too broad”.

He said: “There is a line to be drawn between on the one turn over submit those who have a medical need for an additional bedroom and on the other side by side, those who do not have a direct medical need for an additional room but may from powerful reasons for staying where they are, because of their meticulous personal circumstances.”

For spina bifida tient Jacqueline Carmichael, 44, from Southport, Merseyside, the exigency for an extra bedroom was medical, he said, with judges unanimously proscribing that “the scheme in relation to her is discriminatory”.

Her condition means she has to sleep in a polyclinic bed in a fixed position. There is not enough s ce for a second bed so her husband Jayson slumbers in a se rate bedroom.

Mr Carmichael brought the court challenge along with four others after distress defeat at both the High Court and Court of Appeal in January.

Cottage the court on Wednesday, he said he hoped their victory would employees others.

He said: “It’s put a dent in this undemocratic policy which was not at any time, never voted, never in any rty’s manifesto in the first place, the ‘bedroom tax’.

“We are delighted now, we hope Theresa May will look at the policy again so that, so that it whim take into consideration a lot of people’s personal circumstances, which it hasn’t in the good old days.”

The court also ruled in favour of Pembrokeshire couple ul and Susan Rutherford and their 15-year-old grandson Warren. Their state focused on the im ct of the policy on disabled children needing overnight concern.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Rutherford said: “It’s probably the best day we’ve had in the conclusive three-and-a-half years and we’re just really glad that it’s all over.

“To death that we’ve won for everybody else who’s in our situation, because there’s quite a few out there who are.”

‘Undone and baffled’

However, the judges rejected the cases of five others who possess had their housing benefit reduced as a result of the government’s changes. They are:

  • Richard Rourke, 49, from Bakestone Moor, Derbyshire, who bid he needed an additional bedroom to store mobility equipment. He has had his housing help reduced by 25%
  • James Daly, from Stoke, the father of a severely-disabled teenage son. He and his ex- rtner slice the boy’s care
  • Mervyn Drage, from Manchester, occupies a three-bedroom reclining in a high-rise tower block, and has lived there for 19 years. He suffers from cerebral health and physical problems
  • A woman identified as “A” who had a council house tailor-made with a nic room to protect her from a violent rtner
  • A mammy who can only be referred to as “JD” to protect the identity of her disabled adult daughter

The counselor-at-law for the woman known as “A” said her client intended to challenge the ruling in the European Court of Humanitarian Rights, for the breach of her rights and “other vulnerable women whose alights are at risk”.

Rebekah Carrier, at Hopkin Murray Beskine solicitors, augmented: “Although we welcome today’s ruling that A must continue to draw Sanctuary Scheme protection for as long as she needs it, we are disappointed and frankly baffled by the number’s finding that there is no need to formally exempt Sanctuary Stratagem users from the effects of the bedroom tax.”

Lord Toulson said there was “no wrangle over” that A needed protection under the government’s Sanctuary Scheme. Be that as it may, he said that her property, which has been adapted, was larger than she needed and she did not as a matter of course need to stay in it.

The government argues that the benefit changes forward people to move to smaller properties and saves about £480m a year from the shelter benefit bill.

A DWP spokesman said: “It is welcome that the court establish in our favour in five out of the seven cases.

“The court also agreed with our prospect that discretionary housing yments are generally an appropriate and lawful way to stock up assistance to those who need extra help. In the two specific cases where the court did not muster up in our favour, we will take steps to ensure we comply with the censure in due course.”

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