Regulations protecting certain families with disabled children from the bedroom tax will not be passed until the autumn, despite a judge saying they were ‘imminent’.
Campaigners lost a high profile legal challenge to the policy on Tuesday, after High Court judges refused to overturn the policy on the grounds that it discriminates against disabled people. However, the judgement did slam the government for failing to introduce regulations protecting families with disabled children who cannot share a room from the policy, as ordered in a previous case.
Rather than passing regulations, the government have relied on council’s use of discretionary housing payments to protect these tenants issuing guidance that it should be prioritised to protect these families. In his judgement on Tuesday, High Court Judge Laws said this state of affairs ‘could not continue’. He also said he was ‘dismayed’ that the government felt it had discretion as to whether it should introduce the regulations, and reminded them they were bound by the judgement to do so.
He did not order them to introduce regulations, because he said he had been told they would be passed ‘imminently’. However, a spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions confirmed no regulations will be considered until the new parliamentary term in the autumn. They said: ‘Now that we have this judgement it is intended that the regulations for children will be laid in autumn.’
Emma Salvatore of law firm Trowers & Hamlin said: ‘It is quite clear from the judgement in this case that the court was unimpressed by the lack of progress in this regard and the secretary of state’s assertion that the guidance on DHPs was sufficient. No doubt the drafting will be prioritised after the parliamentary recess.’
Anna Bennett of law firm Devonshires Solicitors said: ‘The judgement in this case was undoubtedly a great disappointment to bedroom tax campaigners although legally, the outcome was not that surprising.
Source: Inside Housing
2nd August 2013