THE FIGHT against the bedroom tax at the Court of Appeal is “very encouraging,” a grassroots campaigner said yesterday, but advice centre closures mean that not everyone is receiving the same help.
Two cases challenging the tax, which specifically targets the poorest social housing tenants, will be heard simultaneously after permission was granted on Tuesday for them to be fast-tracked to the Royal Courts of Justice by the end of the year.
In the first case, grandparents Paul and Susan Rutherford and their severely disabled 15-year-old grandson Warren argue that the tax discriminates against children needing overnight care.
Warren, who has Potocki-Shaffer syndrome, requires around-the-clock help from at least two people and equipment storage space. Two carers stay a few nights per week in a third bedroom, for which the family’s housing benefit has been slashed.
A domestic violence victim, identified only as “A” to protect her identity, will bring the second appeal against the Tory policy that also targets women renting homes specially adapted with ‘“panic rooms.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith failed in a bid to halt the appeals this month after senior judges ruled that the cases should be heard as a matter of urgency, with a view to them moving up to the Supreme Court.
Welfare activist Jenny Austin said that, as well as “putting faith into the legal system,” direct action was still needed “to expose the injustices of the bedroom tax.”
Closures of Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and legal advice centres mean that there is often “nowhere to point those who need help,” she added.
People should take part in the national day of action against benefit cuts on Saturday, said Ms Austin, who will have a stall in Birmingham’s Bullring Market.