Bedroom tax campaigners won a major victory in the Supreme Court last week, as judges ruled in favour of Paul and Susan Rutherford, who have been fighting for years against a ruling that they have to pay the bedroom tax.
Paul and Susan Rutherford – themselves disabled - look after their severely disabled 13 year old grandson, Warren, in their specially adapted home.
They have an additional bedroom in their home for carers who stay overnight twice a week to give Paul and Susan some respite. By caring for their grandson at home the Rutherfords save the taxpayer the massive cost of residential care for Warren.
But, the Rutherford’s have been hit by the bedroom tax. This is because the DWP insist that a spare room for carers is only permitted if it is the claimant or their partner who needs a carer, not if it is a disabled child.
When they applied to their local council for a discretionary housing payment the Rutherfords were also refused that on the grounds that they should use Warren’s DLA to pay for the shortfall in their rent.
However, the Supreme Court has now ruled that the bedroom tax unfairly discriminated against the Rutherfords, because households where an adult needs an extra room for an overnight carer are exempt, but households where a child needs an extra room for an overnight carer are not.
In a separate case, the supreme court ruled in favour of an adult claimant who needed to sleep in a separate room because of her disability, but still had to pay the bedroom tax. The court found that it was unreasonable that a household would be exempt if a child needed a separate room because of their disability but an adult would not be exempt.
There are likely to be some thousands of households which will now be exempt from the bedroom tax, once amended regulations are issued.