Double blow for campaigners as Court of Appeal upholds benefit cuts

Posted on 21/02/2014 by

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Five disabled tenants have lost their Court of Appeal bid to overturn  benefit cuts brought about by the ‘Bedroom Tax’. The court also ruled against two lone parents who claimed the cap on benefits violated both human rights and common law because of its impact on vulnerable families.

Lawyers for the group had argued the regulations failed to reflect the accommodation needs of disabled people, but Court of Appeal judges ruled that the court could not intervene in the government’s housing benefit changes, however ‘controversial’.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the courts have once again found in our favour and agreed this policy is lawful. Reform of housing benefit in the social sector is essential to ensure the long term sustainability of the benefit. But we have ensured extra discretionary housing support is available for vulnerable people.”

On the benefits cap ruling, the spokesperson added: “We are pleased that the courts have ruled again that the benefit cap complies with the European Convention on Human Rights. The benefit cap sets a fair limit to what people can expect to get from the welfare system – so that claimants cannot receive more than £500 a week, the average household earnings.”

Since the introduction of the spare room subsidy or ‘bedroom tax’ last April, people deemed to have one spare bedroom have had their housing benefit reduced by 14% while those with two or more spare bedrooms have seen reductions of 25%.

Lawyers representing the appellants said they are ‘baffled’ by the decision and plan to fight on.

 

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