Government defeated in court case on spare room subsidy

2015 General Election - Cabinet

The Government has been defeated in two cases at the Court of Appeal relating to the spare room subsidy, also known as the bedroom tax. The Court stated that the new policy unlawfully discriminated against families of those with disabilities and those who are victims of domestic violence.

A spokesman for Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“We have already been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. We know there will be people who need extra support. That is why we are giving local authorities over £870m in extra funding over the next five years to help ensure people in difficult situations like these don’t lose out”.

The legal decision will only affect those with similar circumstances to the two cases decided in court, but it may have implications for the general policy.

Paul Rutherford, the grandfather of the child involved in one of the cases, told the Guardian newspaper that:

“It was a relief from all the stress but I’m mad angry because they’re appealing. I would like David Cameron or Iain Duncan Smith to explain why they are spending taxpayers money on an appeal? Why are they doing this to me and other families?”

Owen Smith, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“This victory in the court of appeal is a massive blow to the Tories’ bedroom tax. Labour has long argued that the bedroom tax is deeply unfair and discriminatory, which is why we have campaigned so hard against it”.