November 2014 Another Round of Bedroom Tax Challenges

The DWP has issued new guidance on a recent High Court decision which dismissed a challenge to the bedroom tax for parents with shared care of children.

Claimants argued that the amendments to housing benefit were unlawful on three grounds, namely that they

Breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to family life)

Breached Article 8 of the Convention read with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and

Were irrational

The court dismissed the claims and held that the policy was not unlawful and did not discriminate against claimants who look after their children under shared care arrangements.

In particular, the court held that -

Only in truly exceptional circumstances will Article 8 impose a duty to provide support in the form of housing and welfare benefits, and the situations in this case fall far short of what would be required to constitute an interference with Article 8 rights and

The principle of one person being responsible for a child in any one benefit period applies and it was not irrational to harmonise the payment of housing benefit in the public sector with other benefits in this way

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