Court of Appeal ruling on benefit cuts challenge

Man looking out to sea

In a disappointing decision, the Court of Appeal has rejected a challenge brought by five disabled social housing tenants to benefit cuts imposed by the UK Government on those with spare bedrooms.  The group had argued that the cuts failed to properly reflect the accommodation needs of disabled people.

Digby Brown’s Welfare Rights team work with individuals to help them receive the benefits and welfare support they are entitled to. The team see first-hand the impact of benefit cuts and welfare reform policy and are concerned at the impact this ruling could have on vulnerable individuals and families across Scotland.

Chris Stewart, Digby Brown Partner, said;

“Today's decision by the Court of Appeal is a disappointing one for everyone living with a disability.  The arguments presented by the tenants in this case are not a hypothetical abstract legal proposition, but rather reflect the everyday practical challenges and needs of those living with a disability up and down the country.  This ruling fails to recognise those unique practical challenges those individuals with a disability can face.”

Kathleen McMonagle, who heads Digby Brown’s Welfare Rights team, said;

“Aside from the disappointing decision that the hated “bedroom tax” is lawful, I would suggest that this does not make it moral. Our welfare rights team assist people living with acquired brain injury, some of the most vulnerable members of society. For those clients who cannot afford the additional housing costs to have to move home, perhaps away from their support network and all that they know, can have a huge and damaging effect on their well-being.”

Click here for a link to a report on the decision.

Last year, Kathleen discussed the impact of benefit cuts and welfare reform as part of a BBC Reporting Scotland feature on the issue - see below. 

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©BBC Scotland.  This video has been reproduced with permission from the BBC.