ImageNew Kirkcaldy judgement torpedoes bedroom tax – again!

In a further and in some ways even more significant judgement (SC108/13/01362)*, the Kirkcaldy Benefit Tribunal has ruled that any room of less than 70 sq ft cannot be a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes. The judge has used the A4/2012 regulations to arrive at this conclusion, in Paragraph 63 and Annex C where the Secretary of State suggests that claimants with additional rooms should consider taking in a lodger. 

The judge has explicitly decided that under-occupancy can be seen as the flip side of overcrowding, and that statutory space standards set out for England in the 1985 Housing Act are relevant for bedroom tax decisions. These state that rooms of 50 to 70 sq ft are appropriate for use as sleeping accommodation by a young child (up to the age of 10) but not an adult.The judge also accepted that having regard to Circular A4/2012, that paragraph B13(5) generally presupposes that to be classified as a bedroom a room should be large enough to be appropriate for use as a bedroom by an adult (a possible lodger) – or by two children.

Wirral Council has stated that the 1985 Housing Act Section 326 space standards are irrelevant for bedroom tax purposes – the council is wrong, and our campaign has always said so. The judgment means that every Wirral tenant with any room less than 70 sq ft for which they are paying bedroom tax MUST APPEAL, since they stand a great chance of winning.

In the light of these Kirkcaldy judgments, we demand that Wirral council’s executive team, and Wirral councillors now accept that the process they went through to determine bedroom tax liability was fundamentally flawed, and immediately set to work with tenants and housing associations to review every bedroom tax decision they have made.

South Wirral Campaign against the Bedroom Tax 13 September 2013

For further information contact Robert Claridge 07956 458 331

*See earlier judgement SC108/1301318. For a more detailed assessment of both judgements and their significance see speye.wordpress.com

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