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Court to rule on bedroom tax legality

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Court to rule on bedroom tax legality

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Housing, Legal, Local Government, Regulation

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The Court of Appeal is due to rule on whether the bedroom tax is legal when applied to disabled people.

During a three-day hearing in January, the court heard a challenge to last year's High Court ruling that the implementation of the government’s controversial under-occupancy policy is lawful when applied to disabled adult social housing tenants.

In July 2013, 10 disabled housing benefit claimants represented by three law firms argued that the bedroom tax discriminates against people with disabilities.

Though the High Court accepted that the rules are discriminatory, it decided that for disabled adults and some disabled children the discrimination was justified and, therefore, lawful.

The same did not apply to disabled children unable to share a bedroom with another child because of their disabilities, and, following the court’s ruling, the government introduced new legislation exempting tenants in such situations.

The High Court held that discrimination against adults with disabilities and against children with disabilities unable to share with an adult, even though their situation was effectively the same as children with disabilities who could not share a room with a sibling, was justified.

Consequently, lawyers for those people with disabilities took their case to the Court of Appeal arguing that they should be entitled to full housing benefit for the accommodation they actually need as a result of their disabilities and that the discriminatory impact of the measure on people with disabilities cannot be justified.

The Court of Appeal will make its judgment this Friday.

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