Councils have turned down over 1,600 crisis fund claims made by people with disabilities
- 16 May
Freedom of information requests have revealed that 49 councils turn down 1,637 DHP applications by people with disabilities.
Councils have rejected over 1,600 applications from people with disabilities who have been affected by the bedroom tax last year, which potentially undermines claims that the policy is not discriminatory, reports Inside Housing.
Lawyers who are acting for tenants with disabilities challenging the reforms are considering using the findings to take their case to the UK's highest court. The freedom of information requests made by Inside Housing have revealed at least 1,637 applications for discretionary housing payments made by people with disabilities who have been impacted by the bedroom tax have been rejected by just 49 councils last year, with the overall figure likely to be higher as 154 councils did not respond to requests to record the data.
A spokesperson for disability charity Scope said: "This is yet more evidence that this policy has landed disabled people with another extra cost. They're being forced to move, or find extra cash they don't have to pay their rent."
Giles Peaker, a partner at Anthony Gold solicitors, said: "This neatly demonstrates the gap between what the government argued in court about DHP, and how it actually operates."
A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "The report in question relating to our repairs and maintenance contract with Osborne was written in July 2012, only three months into the new contract arrangements. The report was an internal document written by the interim head of finance and was intended to provide a critical overview of our financial monitoring processes to ensure the new contract was a success going forward. As with any large contract there are invariably teething issues that arise post-implementation and need to be worked through as part of the embedding process. A series of measures were put into place shortly after this report was written, which enabled us to achieve a repairs and maintenance out-turn which was slightly under budget at the end of 2012/13. Our partnering arrangements with Osborne means that we work continuously to improve our repairs service and, in fact, we have seen a 7 per cent rise in resident satisfaction with repairs in the latest independent STAR survey results for 2013."
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