UK
03/10/2013 09:44 BST

Disabled Woman Wins Landmark Appeal On Bedroom Tax

PA
People stage a demonstration over bedroom tax outside the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow.

A disabled woman unable to share a bedroom with her husband has won an landmark appeal against the Government's so-called bedroom tax.

In what is thought to be the first successful case of its kind in England, a tribunal found that the local authority had "not taken into consideration her disabilities and her reasonable requirements".

The tenant, who has chosen to remain anonymous, suffers from various health conditions and this year had a stroke, leaving her in a wheelchair and requiring a stairlift.

Along with her husband, she had argued that due to her condition they required one bedroom each, but this was rejected by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council who said they were under-occupying their three bedroom house.

But this decision has been overturned and could pave the way for many other similar challenges.

"We took on the Government on the spare room subsidy and won," the woman's husband said.

"Getting a satisfactory outcome to our housing benefit tribunal was quite a surprise to us when you take into account what we read in the media and you see what has happened in the High Court recently.

"The tribunal concluded that although we are a couple, my wife's particular circumstances, the extent and effect of her disabling medical conditions and her resulting needs due to her disabilities, mean that we reasonably require one bedroom each and should therefore be assessed for Housing benefit on this basis."

The couple have now had the subsidy reduced to 14%, down from 25%.

The tribunal, which was held in Middlesbrough, concluded that: "In considering whether there is under-occupation of the appellant's property, the Local Authority have not taken into consideration her disabilities and her reasonable requirements, as a result of these, to sleep in a bedroom of her own."

Iain Sim, chief executive of Coast & Country, which owns the property, said they had been campaigning against the subsidy on behalf of their tenants.

"The Bedroom Tax is abhorrent because it is affecting some of the poorest people in society, who through no fault of their own are living in homes that are classed as too big for them," he said.

"To hear that one couple has taken on the establishment and won is fantastic news, which should give hope to hundreds of thousands of disabled people right across the country."