The so-called bedroom tax has been declared discriminatory by Court of Appeal judges, following a legal challenge by a domestic violence victim and the family of a disabled teenager.
They had argued that the spare room subsidy – which reduces housing benefit for social housing tenants with a “spare” bedroom – is discriminatory.
The Court of Appeal decision followed a hearing in November.
The government has said it will appeal against the ruling.
One appeal – brought by a woman identified only as “A” – concerned the effect of the policy on women living in properties adapted because of risks to their lives. Her home was equipped with a panic room.
The second appeal – brought by Paul and Susan Rutherford and their 15-year-old grandson Warren – focused on the impact of the policy on disabled children needing overnight care.
“A” and the Rutherfords both claimed that the policy discriminated against them unlawfully.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Lord Justice Tomlinson and Lord Justice Vos, sitting in the Court of Appeal, allowed both appeals, on the grounds that the “admitted discrimination” in each case “has not been justified by the Secretary of State”.
The housing benefit changes – dubbed the “bedroom tax” by Labour – were introduced in April 2013. Since then families claiming housing benefits have been assessed for the number of bedrooms they actually need.
Families deemed by their local authorities to have too much living space have received reduced payments.
The government rejects the term “bedroom tax”, saying the regulations remove what is in fact a “spare room subsidy”.
It says it aims to encourage people to move to smaller properties, potentially saving about £480m a year from the housing benefit bill.
Source from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35418488