Judges at the Supreme Court should hang their heads in shame after they gave Iain Duncan Smith another reason to laugh at the plight of a rape victim.
The woman identified as ‘A’ didn’t have a panic room fitted in her house to protect her from a “violent partner” – as the BBC report I quoted extensively below puts it. She was a rape victim who needed it to protect her against any further attacks.
When it was revealed that she was being evicted from that house because of the Bedroom Tax, Iain Duncan Smith – the man behind the policy – laughed.
He thought it was funny that a woman who had been raped was being turfed out of her sanctuary against further violation.
And now the Supreme Court has given him reason to laugh again.
The solicitor for ‘A’ has said her client intended to challenge the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights, for the breach of her rights and “other vulnerable women whose lives are at risk”.
On a more optimistic note, congratulations to Vox Political reader Paul Rutherford who has – at last! – won his own case against the Department for Work and Pensions.
Paul and Susan Rutherford, from Pembrokeshire, care for their severely disabled grandson, Warren, in a specially adapted three-bedroom bungalow.
They can only care for Warren with the help of paid carers who regularly stay overnight.
Lawyers said the current regulations allow for an additional bedroom if a disabled adult requires overnight care but not for a disabled child in the same situation.
The court ruled in their favour.
No doubt Mr Rutherford will let us all know the details in the near future.
Note: The BBC report, below, inaccurately states that the Bedroom Tax is the removal of a subsidy for social housing tenants deemed to have “spare” rooms in their homes. This is a false claim. There was never any subsidy. The State Over-Occupation Charge, to give its official title, cuts Housing Benefit provided to people in social housing by an arbitrary amount, for no very good reason. People are allocated social housing according to the dwellings that are available to them and have no choice over whether the accommodation allocated to them is too big.
A woman who suffers from spina bifida and a couple who look after their severely disabled grandson have won their Supreme Court appeals against the so-called “bedroom tax”.
The court ruled that the government’s changes to housing benefit discriminated against them.
But five other people had similar challenges dismissed by the court.
The court said councils should be able to decide which tenants get discretionary payments to help them.
Disability campaigners have been protesting against the system, which removed subsidies for social housing tenants who were deemed to have “spare” rooms in their homes, since it was introduced by the government in 2013.
Dubbed the “bedroom tax” by Labour, tenants affected had payments cut by 14%.
For spina bifida sufferer Jacqueline Carmichael, 44, from Southport, Merseyside, the need for an extra bedroom was medical, he said, with judges unanimously ruling that “the scheme in relation to her is discriminatory”.
Her condition means she has to sleep in a hospital bed in a fixed position. There is not enough space for a second bed so her husband Jayson sleeps in a separate bedroom.
The court … ruled in favour of Pembrokeshire couple Paul and Susan Rutherford and their 15-year-old grandson Warren. Their case focused on the impact of the policy on disabled children needing overnight care.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Rutherford said: “It’s probably the best day we’ve had in the last three and a half years and we’re just really glad that it’s all over.
“Glad that we’ve won for everybody else who’s in our situation, because there’s quite a few out there who are”.
However, the judges rejected the cases of five others who have had their housing benefit reduced as a result of the government’s changes. They were:
Richard Rourke, 49, from Bakestone Moor, Derbyshire, who said he needed an additional bedroom to store mobility equipment. He has had his housing benefit reduced by 25%
James Daly, from Stoke, the father of a severely-disabled teenage son. He and his ex-partner share the boy’s care
Mervyn Drage, from Manchester, occupies a three-bedroom flat in a high-rise tower block, and has lived there for 19 years. He suffers from mental health and physical problems
A woman identified as “A” who had a council house fitted with a panic room to protect her from a violent partner
Plus another case made by a mother who can only be referred to as “JD” to protect the identity of her disabled adult daughter
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