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Consequences Of Disappointing Bedroom Tax Ruling ‘To Be Felt Widely’

Legal Experts React To High Court Decision On Benefits Cut


By Rob Dixon

The High Court’s decision regarding the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ which reduces housing benefit for social housing tenants with spare bedrooms is a huge blow for many families which rely on access to such amenities, according to legal experts.

A judicial review has been brought into the issue following concerns that the cut to benefits, which came into force in April, were a breach of human rights and discriminated against disabled people who rely on the extra space.

In a ruling handed down today (July 30th), the High Court has dismissed the challenge mounted by several families and stated that the cut to benefits did not discriminate against disabled people.

However, Lord Justice Laws added that the Government should act quickly to indicate there would no reduction in housing benefit when an extra bedroom is needed for children who are unable to share due to their disabilities.

Campaigners have revealed their intentions to continue their fight over the issue.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Public Law team represents a significant number of clients who have been affected by the debate regarding bedroom tax and were eagerly awaiting the outcome of this judicial review.

Polly Sweeney, a public law expert based at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office who specialises in social care issues, said: “Today’s result is hugely important and will affect a great number of people who need and rely on extra rooms and stability of housing because of circumstances out of their control.

“It should not be forgotten that many of those who would be affected are disabled people who do not have the means or high incomes to be able to afford to maintain properties without any support.  Benefits for issues such as housing play a huge role in ensuring vulnerable and severely disabled people are able to live as independently as possible.

“While the call for clarification related to bedrooms for disabled children was welcome, this will only prove to be a small consolation for all of those affected by this. The decision to maintain this bedroom tax is hugely disappointing and our clients are hugely worried about what this will now mean for them over the coming months.

“The consequences of this ruling will be felt widely and it is unsurprising that this will not spell an end to the campaign to get these cuts overturned.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Social & Healthcare Law