Whitwell: Disabled campaigners take bedroom tax fight to the Court of Appeal

Guardian News
Guardian News

A Whitwell man is among those taking their legal fight over bedroom tax to the Court of Appeal today (Monday).

Richard Rourke, of Bakestone Moor, was among a group of people who say the Government’s welfare reform changes are a violation of their human rights.

The new policy, which came into effect in April, means people in social housing deemed to under-occupy their homes have seen their benefit cut by 14 to 25 per cent.

Lawyers representing adults with disabilities will go to the Court of Appeal today for a three day hearing to challenge last year’s High Court ruling that the implementation of the Government’s controversial new housing benefit regulations is lawful.

In July 2013 10 claimants all argued that these new Housing Benefit rules discriminate against people with disabilities.

The appeal judges will be asked that disabled people should be entitled to full Housing Benefit for the accommodation they actually need.

Ugo Hayter from the Human Rights team at Leigh Day said: “We are very confident that the Court of Appeal will see that the decision to implement this legislation by the Government was clearly discriminatory and will overturn last year’s ruling by the High Court.”

“It is a cruel and deeply disturbing benefit cut which hits the most vulnerable in society.”

Anne McMurdie from Public Law Solicitors said: “This case is about fairness. It is about disabled people being paid housing benefit to meet the size and type of accommodation they need because of their disabilities and not being financially penalised because they are disabled.”

“Those with disabilities most in need of protection and support are bearing the brunt of the Government’s welfare cuts.”

“These measures will result in disabled people falling into debt and being at risk of eviction and homelessness.”

“Since the benefit change was implemented in April 2013 there has been a wealth of research and analysis making clear the serious adverse impact on disabled people.”

A DWP spokesman said they remain confident it has fulfilled its equality duties to disabled people with the policy.