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#Bedroomtax Legal Challenge To Begin At High Court Today

May 15, 2013

A legal test is set to begin into the government’s decision to cut housing benefit for recipients living in properties that have a spare room.

The move – dubbed a “bedroom tax” by critics – will be challenged at the High Court by a group of disabled people and their families.

They say the changes discriminate against them because they need extra rooms to cope with their disability.

Ministers say they are confident their changes are legal.

About 660,000 working-age social housing households that have spare bedrooms have lost an average of £14 per week since their benefit was cut at the beginning of April.

Human rights and equality

Ten families, all disabled or the parents of disabled children, are going to court to challenge the changes.

Their lawyers will argue that the benefit cut is discriminatory and violates both the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.

They say discretionary payments the government has made available to help those most affected by the benefit cuts are insufficient.

The judicial review is going ahead after the government lost an attempt to have the action thrown out last month.

The cut is dubbed a “bedroom tax” by its critics but is a “spare room subsidy” for its supporters.

The government says it wants to bring social housing tenants into line with its provision in the private sector.

Intended to reduce a £21bn annual housing benefit bill, the measure is also aimed at encouraging greater mobility in the social rented sector.

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