High Court challenge against bedroom tax lost

  • A bedroom tax challenge brought forward by grandparents caring for a disabled child has been dismissed by the High Court.

    Grandparents Paul and Susan Rutherford care for their fourteen year old grandson in a specially adapted three bedroom home which includes a room used by overnight carers for the teenage. We've previously documented their story before, here. /images/blog/disabledhome.jpg

    The Rutherfords argued that the third room was necessary for use by their grandson's carers and to store equipment. However Mr Justice Stuart-Smith has dismissed the claim, as the family has received a discretionary housing payment from the council to cover the shortfall in their rent for a year, reports Inside Housing.

    Mike Spencer, solicitor for Child Poverty Action Group, said: "The Rutherfords are understandably very disappointed by today's ruling.  The court has at least indicated that the local council should help pay the shortfall in Warren's rent, but ultimately families with severely disabled children should be entitled to the same exemption as disabled adults and not have to rely on uncertain discretionary payments.   Paul and Sue work round the clock to care for Warren and have the constant fear hanging over them that Warren might lose his home and have to go into care."

    A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "We are pleased that the courts have once again found in our favour and agreed our policy is lawful. We have made £345 million available to councils since the reforms were introduced to help vulnerable families who may need extra support. The removal of the spare room subsidy is a fair and necessary reform. It will give families in overcrowded accommodation hope of finding an appropriately sized property and help bring the housing benefit bill under control."

    The Rutherfords now plan to take their fight to the Court of Appeal.

    What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions

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Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "Sincere thanks to Michael Patterson for an excellent presentation on the HB Reform issues in Leeds last week, and for all the very helpful info and links. I do intend to respond on behalf of our organisation, Caring For Life, but feel that Support Solutions' response is excellent." E.S. - Caring for Life

 

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