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Judge says law on bedroom tax discriminates against disabled people legally

Oppose the Bedroom taxA legal challenge over claims that the bedroom tax unlawfully discriminates against disabled people in social housing was today dismissed by the High Court.

But lawyers acting for the claimants said they welcomed the criticism by Lord Justice Laws, sitting with Mr Justice Cranston, that the Government has been aware since May last year that the law must be changed to provide for disabled children but failed to act early to make the necessary regulations and that the current state of affairs “cannot be allowed to continue“.

Richard Stein, Partner in the Human Rights team at Leigh Day said:

Our clients are bitterly disappointed with today’s decision, but they are not defeated.

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.

We welcome the decision by the Court to find that families of children with disabilities must be awarded housing benefit for the number of rooms they actually need. The Government must now introduce regulations to this effect.

We argue strongly that this same provision should be in place for families who need extra living space for an adult with disabilities.

Many people are suffering great mental and physical torment through the imposition of these welfare reforms – the need for resolution is urgent.

The government’s attempts to pass the buck to local authorities to deal with the unfairness and discrimination of the bedroom tax using Discretionary Housing Payments is not acceptable. The amount of money provided by the government for these payments is nowhere near adequate to prevent large numbers of disabled people losing their homes.

One of our clients with disabilities is currently facing eviction due to the fact he can no longer pay his rent.

There can be no doubt that this legislation targets and penalises the most vulnerable in society and we believe we will ultimately have it overturned by a Court of law”

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