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Bedroom tax appeal ruling: Supreme Court says Government acted unlawfully towards disabled campaigners

Conservative welfare policy has suffered a blow after the Supreme Court ruled the Government discriminated against some disabled people with the controversial ‘bedroom tax’.

Following the decisions one of the victors called on Prime Minister Theresa May to scrap the ‘bedroom tax’ completely.

Since 2013 people in the social rented sector deemed to have a spare bedroom had housing benefit reduced 14 per cent, while those with two or more spare, had it reduced 25 per cent.

Ministers said it would encourage people to move into smaller properties, freeing up larger ones for families, but many disabled people claimed their needs were not accounted for.

Today’s decision saw Supreme Court justices rule in favour of Jacqueline Carmichael, who lives with her husband in a two-bedroom  flat in Merseyside and Paul and Sue Rutherford, from Pembrokeshire.

In a joint statement Mr and Ms Carmichael said they were “overjoyed”, adding: “We have been through almost four years of the sheer hell of the ‘bedroom tax’ policy, and this decision vindicates our long and difficult fight.

“Out of this human rights victory over the bedroom tax we ask Theresa May to now reconsider the whole policy for everyone.”

Judges also ruled in favour of Mr and Ms Rutherford, from Pembrokeshire, who care for teenage grandson Warren.

But the justices had been asked to decide on other individual cases relating to disabled people or their carers, in which they ruled for the Government.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and pensions said: “It is welcome that the court found in our favour in five out of the seven cases.

“The court also agreed with our view that Discretionary Housing Payments are generally an appropriate and lawful way to provide assistance to those who need extra help.

“In the two specific cases where the Court did not find in our favour, we will take steps to ensure we comply with the judgement in due course.”

The spokesman said the Government will have provided over £1 billion to councils by the end of this parliament for discretionary payments to ensure people in difficult situations had help.

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