Conservative welfare policy has suffered a blow after the Supreme Court ruled the Government discriminated against disabled people in two cases with the controversial “bedroom tax”.
A spina bifida sufferer and a couple who look after their severely disabled grandson won rulings, but the judges rejected several other cases.
Following the decisions, one of the victors called on Theresa May to scrap the “bedroom tax” completely.
Since 2013, people in the social rented sector deemed to have a spare bedroom had housing benefit reduced by 14 per cent, while those with two or more spare, had it reduced by 25 per cent.
Ministers said it would encourage people to move into smaller properties, freeing up larger ones for families, but many disabled people claimed their needs were not accounted for.
Today’s decision saw Supreme Court justices rule in favour of Jacqueline Carmichael, who lives with her husband in a two-bedroom flat in Merseyside but cannot share a room because she needs a hospital-type bed.
In a joint statement, Mr and Ms Carmichael said they were “overjoyed”, adding: “We have been through almost four years of the sheer hell of the ‘bedroom tax’ policy, and this decision vindicates our long and difficult fight. Out of this human rights victory over the bedroom tax we ask Theresa May to now reconsider the whole policy for everyone.”
In a joint statement, Mr and Ms Carmichael said they were “overjoyed”, adding: “We have been through almost four years of the sheer hell of the ‘bedroom tax’ policy, and this decision vindicates our long and difficult fight.
“Out of this human rights victory over the bedroom tax we ask Theresa May to now reconsider the whole policy for everyone.”
Judges also ruled in favour of Paul and Sue Rutherford, from Pembrokeshire, who care for teenage grandson, Warren, but ruled for the Government on other individual cases relating to disabled people or their carers.
A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “It is welcome that the court found in our favour in five out of the seven cases.
“The court also agreed with our view that Discretionary Housing Payments are generally an appropriate and lawful way to provide assistance to those who need extra help.
“In the two specific cases where the Court did not find in our favour, we will take steps to ensure we comply with the judgement in due course.”
The spokesman said the Government will have provided more than £1 billion to councils by the end of this Parliament for discretionary payments to ensure people in difficult situations had help.