The Court of Appeal judges have today declared the bedroom tax to be discriminatory, following a legal challenge by a victim of domestic violence and the family of a disabled teenager.
Both challengers had argued that the tax, which cuts housing benefit for social housing tenants with a ‘spare’ bedroom, is discriminatory.
Following an initial hearing in November, the Court of Appeal decided today to rule in favour of the challengers. The Government has already said it plans to appeal the decision.
A domestic violence sufferer, known only as ‘A’, brought forward a case which concerned the effect of the policy on women like herself who reside in properties adapted especially because of a threat to their lives. She noted that her home was equipped with a panic room and that many other women could have the same issues.
The second appeal was forwarded by Paul and Susan Rutherford on behalf of their disabled grandson Warren. This focused on the impact of the tax on disabled children who needed around the clock care.
It is believed that there are around 300 victims of domestic abuse who could be affected by the tax, alongside thousands of severely disabled children in a similar situation to young Warren.
Government loses Court of Appeal cases on Bedroom Tax
At today’s ruling, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Lord Justice Tomlinson and Lord Justice Vos, allowed both appeals, after deciding that the, ‘admitted discrimination,’ in the cases, ‘has not been justified by the Secretary of State.’
Mr Rutherford said that he was, ‘absolutely delighted,’ with the outcome and added that the tax, ‘was so unfair that somebody had to do something to get the law changed.’
Michael Spencer, of the Child Poverty Action Group, noted that today’s ruling meant, ‘families can stay in their homes safe in the knowledge that their disabled children can get the care they need.’
Rebekah Carrier, a solicitor acting on behalf of, ‘A’, also said that, ‘our client’s life is at risk and she is terrified. The anxiety caused by the bedroom tax and the uncertainty about this case has been huge.’
However, a spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said that the Government, ‘fundamentally disagreed,’ with the outcome.
‘We have already been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. We know there will be people who need extra support. This is why we are giving local authorities over £870m in extra funding over the next five years to help ensure people in difficult situations like these don’t lose out,’ the spokesman added.