A Kirkcaldy Benefits Tribunal has made a judgement which opens the way for hundreds of thousands of appeals, and which drives a coach and horses through the ConDem Coalition’s hated Bedroom Tax.

In an appeal against Fife Council’s decision that a tenant of what the landlord said was a three-bedroomed property had to pay for ‘under-occupying’ two bedrooms, the Tribunal judge ruled that the property in question in fact had just one bedroom, and the tenant was not liable for any bedroom tax. The judge also ruled that the Council must refund the tenant all the housing benefit it had deducted since its original decision. Crucially the judgement also makes clear that a council:

  • cannot make a reliable bedroom tax decision on the assumption that data submissions from a landlord on bedroom numbers are correct;
  • must know the room purpose and usage as at the time it makes the benefit tax decision for that decision to be reliable;
  • must consider not just room size in making a decision but also usable floor space.

The process in determining bedroom tax liability across Merseyside was no different from that adopted by Fife council: every bedroom tax decision made by Wirral, Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley and Halton councils is therefore arbitrary and rife for challenge and must be appealed by every affected tenant.

Merseyside Federation will continue its work to ensure that tenants know they have both a right and a responsibility to appeal against this vicious attack on the poor.

Axe the Bedroom Tax!

For further information contact: –
Merseyside Federation of Anti-Bedroom Tax Groups
Juliet Edgar (Secretary)  on 07528194137 and/or Adam Ford (Press Officer) on 07530000151

For a more detailed assessment of the judgement and its significance see speye.wordpress.com

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