Bedroom tax victory for social housing couple
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government, Regulation
50,000 North East families hit by ‘bedroom tax’
The government's controversial bedroom tax has taken a bruising after a couple won a court battle against it.
Kevin and Ann Gresham were hit by the under-occupancy policy after their two-bed flat was deemed to have a spare room.
However, the couple were originally moved into the home by Kirklees Council because it had been adapted for wheelchair use and Mrs Gresham has a disability.
Under the bedroom tax, the couple faced having 14% of their housing benefit cut - but a judge ruled last week that the couple should not have their money touched nor be forced to 'downsize' to a one-bed flat.
Explaining his decision, the judge said that locating a one-bed property big enough for two beds and disabled equipment was "slim".
Mr Gresham said: "It wasn't right, they're punishing Ann for breaking her back and punishing me for having to give up work to look after her."
A DWP spokesman said: "The courts have twice ruled in our favour that we have fulfilled our equality duties to disabled people.
"We have made £345 million of discretionary housing payments available to councils to help the most vulnerable people since reforms were introduced - with money specifically earmarked for disabled people living in specially adapted accommodation.
"Ending the spare room subsidy was absolutely necessary in order to get the soaring housing benefit bill under control, returning fairness to the system and making better use of social housing stock. These rules already applied to housing benefit claimants in the private sector - introduced by the previous government."