Bedroom Tax challenge dismissed
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A High Court battle challenging reforms cutting welfare payments to ‘under occupied’ social homes known as Bedroom Tax, has been dismissed today.
Ten families used a judicial review to fight the Government change, which sees up to 25% cut from payments if homes were deemed bigger than required. However the High Court ruled the ‘Bedroom Tax', introduced in April, did not breach human rights and dismissed the challenge.
Richard Stein, representing two families in the bedroom tax case, said his clients were "bitterly disappointed with today's decision, but they are not defeated."
He told the BBC: "We, along with the other lawyers acting on behalf of adults with disabilities, will appeal this judgment and we remain confident that the discrimination which was recognised by the court, and which has been perpetrated against our clients by this legislation, is not justified and is unlawful."
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) who are overseeing the bedroom tax and wider welfare reforms, including a benefit cap and universal credit, were pleased with the High Court decision to dismiss the challenge.
A DWP spokesperson said: “We are pleased to learn that the court has found in our favour and agreed that we have fulfilled our equality duties to disabled people."
The Government has already provided £150m to councils to make ‘discretionary payments’ to those affected by its changes to the welfare system, but the DWP has also announced that it would bolster the fund with an additional £35m in-year funding to help claimants who need extra support.
The DWP added: “Reform of housing benefit in the social sector is essential, so the taxpayer does not pay for people’s extra bedrooms. But we have ensured extra discretionary housing support is in place to help those who need it and today we have announced a further £35m of funding to councils to aid residents.”
The £35 million funding consists of:
- £10m transitional payments distributed to all councils.
- £5m discretionary housing payment funding for the least densely populated areas in the country.
- A new £20m discretionary housing payment fund.
About 660,000 working-age social housing households were judged to be affected, with DWP estimations suggesting 420,000 disabled people would be among this figure.