Response from Contact a Family re the Court of Appeal ruling that the bedroom tax discriminates against the family of a disabled teenager
Una Summerson, Head of Policy at Contact a Family says: “We know from calls to our helpline that the Rutherford’s situation is not an isolated case. Some children have high care needs through the night and an overnight carer enables their parents to get a vital night’s sleep. Without the help of overnight care workers some families would reach breaking point and may consider residential care, at a substantial extra cost to taxpayers. We are delighted that the Court of Appeal has found the current rules to be unlawful and hope that the DWP will now act quickly to amend the housing benefit rules rather than challenge this ruling in the Supreme Court.
“Contact a Family has been campaigning to ensure all disabled children are exempt from unfair bedroom tax rules. The housing benefit rules had previously been changed to take into account where a child’s disability means they are unable to share a bedroom with their brother or sister, however families who need an extra room for an overnight carer or to store equipment still face cuts in their housing benefit. Many families have seen a reduction in their housing benefit since the bedroom tax was introduced. ‘Spare’ rooms are anything but for families with disabled children – they are often essential in caring for a disabled child. As well as families needing a room for overnight carers, extra rooms are important spaces to store lifesaving equipment or vital supplies which are delivered in bulk, or as a safe or quiet room for children.”