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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.


#3 Debbie 2017-09-08 13:11
The exemption for this after this was put in to legislation, came in to force on April 1st. 2017. But you still have to submit an appeal. The housing benefits regulations were updated. So, your local council, can make the decision, without having to go to a Tribunal.
#2 Crazydiamond 2016-11-24 12:25
At a time when the government is reducing legal aid to fight benefit appeals, and cutting the amount of funding to welfare rights organisations, the government spent almost £500,000 in pursuing bedroom tax appeals through the higher courts:-

#1 Crazydiamond 2016-11-15 11:40
Replicated from the "submit a story" section:-

Despite their victory the DWP still seem unable to accept the judgement of the Supreme Court, and have rushed out a circular to local authorities to continue as they were, contrary to what the judgement stipulates.


The wording of the circular appears to imply that LAs should disregard the judgement, which effectively is contempt both legally and factually and furthermore, is rubbish. The DWP are legally bound to acccept the judgement of the Supreme Court. However, this is not the first time the DWP have ignored the judgements of the higher courts, and have been reprimanded in the past when judgements have gone against them.

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