Oliver Wright: A critical victory – but the fight against cuts still has a long way to go

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As ever, the only real winners are m'learned friends. This High Court ruling – along with other recent successful legal challenges to council cuts – has welcomed by those most harshly affected by the rush into austerity Britain.

The sad fact is that such rulings are likely to delay, not prevent the cuts. And in the meantime the cost of mounting and defending such actions will be added to the already unprecedented public-sector deficit.

That is not to say that the ethnic minority families who challenged the new housing benefit restrictions or the disabled people who will no longer be given care allowances to stay in their own homes are wrong.

But two points are inescapable. The first is that these challenges are legal rather than moral. In the case of yesterday's Isle of Wight decision the judge ruled the council acted unlawfully because it did not comply with its own internal guidance. The council will have to go back and do things properly. But that is not the same as saying the claimants will still be entitled to the same level of care they had previously. They might just have it for a bit longer.

The other point is that even if certain groups of people escape the cuts, that will just result in others being worse affected.

How do you choose between cutting funding for care homes, home help, libraries or child protection? Don't believe the easy spin about "efficiency savings".

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