Court Ruling Could Change Government’s Bedroom Tax

The government could be forced to make changes to its controversial bedroom tax policy following a Court of Appeal ruling this week.

The “bedroom tax” comes in to force from April 2013, and effects social housing tenants of working age with spare bedrooms.  The policy means tenants who’s houses are deemed under occupied will face a cut in their benefit of around £14/week for one spare room, and £25/week for two spare rooms.

Currently, a single room can be inhabited by:

  • A couple
  • An adult
  • Two children of the same sex (under 16)
  • Two children under 10 years of age
  • A child
  • An extra bedroom is allowed for overnight non-resident carers

This may be set to change, after three claimants challenged the Department for Work and Pensions in the court of appeal this week.  The court found that housing benefit rules for private rented tenants discriminate against disabled people.

The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, which restrict local housing allowance according to property size, were found to be discriminatory because they do not allow benefit to be paid for an extra room where two children cannot share because of disabilities, the court ruled.

This means that the government may have to alter the regulations, or make additional funding available, in order to remove the discrimination.

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