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Bedroom tax law fails disabled children

11 November 2013

Disability Rights UK is disappointed that the Government has failed to extend protection from the 'bedroom tax' to all disabled children.

Press release

The Government has published regulations in response to a Court of Appeal ruling (1) which forces local authorities to allow an extra room for children who are unable to share because of their severe disabilities.

These regulations (2) extend protection from the Housing Benefits Size Criteria, the so-called 'bedroom tax', but only to households where a child is receiving the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.

In doing this the Government rejected the Social Security Advisory Committee's recommendation (3) that the protection, allowing severely disabled children to have their own room, should be extended to all disabled children.

Disability Rights UK, in its response to the draft regulations (4), wanted the protection to be extended to all children on Disability Living Allowance, whatever the component, at the very least, but also recommended that the law be changed to include all disabled children where it would be inappropriate for them to share a bedroom because of their disability.

Ian Greaves, Editor of the Disability Rights Handbook, said today that he was bitterly disappointed with the decision. "This will inevitably lead to greater hardship for families who are already struggling to make ends meet."

We request that the Department makes clear what plans it intends to put in place to protect these exceptional cases.

Notes:

(1)   Burnip v Birmingham City Council. For more about this see http://disabilityrightsuk.org/burnip-v-birmingham-city-council-anor-2012-ewca-civ-629-15-may-2012

(2)   The Housing Benefit and Universal Credit (Size Criteria) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013. See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/2828/made.

(3)   The full SSAC response is at http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/other/9780108560064/9780108560064.asp

(4)   Here is our submission to the SSAC response: http://disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2013/october/bedroom-tax-exemption-consultation-our-response