Further bedroom tax humiliation for government as DWP drops Supreme Court appeal
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing
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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has decided to drop a case against a father of two disabled daughters who argued that his children shouldn't have to share a bedroom.
Richard Gorry challenged the DWP when he was told he could only claim housing benefit for a three-bedroom house.
Mr Gorry appealed on the grounds that his daughters' disabilities - one who has Down's Syndrome and one who has spina bifida - meant that they could not always share a bedroom. Mr Gorry also has a third daughter who isn't disabled.
On May 15 last year, the Court of Appeal agreed that the Gorrys had been unlawfully discriminated against.
But Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary for work and pensions, decided to appeal the decision with the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, however, Mr Duncan Smith announced that he would be dropping the appeal.
In a statement, the DWP said: "“The secretary of state has today clarified the position regarding disabled children and has decided not to pursue the appeal further."
The decision means that councils will be able to allow extra bedrooms for households with disabled children who are unable to share a room with siblings.
Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “This is a tremendous victory for disabled children and it’s a victory for common sense.
“In the case Child Poverty Action Group represented, it was clearly not possible for a child with spina bifida and another with Down Syndrome to share a bedroom together with such different demands and needs. It’s absolutely right that the housing benefit system should respond to challenges like this, and it is clear discrimination if it does not.
“Even with today’s decision on severely disabled children, disabled people will still be amongst the hardest hit by the bedroom tax, with £300 million being cut from their housing support. The bedroom tax is surely one of the cruellest cuts of all and should be scrapped altogether.”
Yesterday Mr Duncan Smith announced that members of the armed forces and foster families would be exempt from the bedroom tax.