A quick note to record that the judicial review of the bedroom tax regulations as being discriminatory on the basis that a ‘panic room’ equipped for domestic violence victims was classed as a ‘spare bedroom’ failed. The judgment does not appear to be on Bailii, but a DWP bulletin records the case. Unsurprisingly, the fact that DHP was in payment was key to the Court’s decision. The rest of the note of the judgment is of the now familiar path of ‘discriminatory, but not manifestly without reasonable foundation, and DHP as mitigation’. The Court also suggested that the number impacted would mean ‘micro-managing’ in legislation.
To be honest, the result cannot be taken as a great surprise, given the line of reasoning in previous bedroom tax JRs and in the Court of Appeal in MA. But I understand that the Claimant intends to seek permission to appea, and of course MA & Ors in the Supreme Court could change the whole picture.
That same DWP bulletin contains a ‘clarification’ which helpfully confirms that I was entirely right in my previous criticism of the guidance in HB U6/2014. In fact the clarification so closely resembles my post, I am considering billing the DWP. It contains the glorious ‘clarification’ that:
“It was not intended that HB decision makers themselves would re-designate the property or review the rent levels as it is recognised that this is outside their remit, especially where the landlord of the property is not the LA.”