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Council to appeal tribunal defeat over 'spare room subsidy'

Kirklees Council is to appeal a First Tier Tribunal (FTT) ruling that upheld a couple’s challenge to its decision to cut their housing benefit under the ‘spare room subsidy’ rules.

The rules of the scheme, dubbed by critics as the ‘bedroom tax’, meant that Kevin and Ann Gresham were deemed to be ‘under occupying’ their two-bedroom home, even though it had been adapted for Mrs Gresham, who uses a wheelchair.

Judge Barber of the First Tier Tribunal Social Entitlement Chamber, said in his ruling that the Greshams were being required by the council to bid for one bedroom properties “none of which are suitable and all of which require considerable adaptation and eventually may well be unsuitable for them”.

He added: “Having met Mrs Gresham, it would not be reasonable for her, for reasons of her disability, to sleep in a single bed and the scope for a one bedroom property being available with a bedroom large enough for two beds and disabled facilities, it seems to me is slim.”

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A Kirklees spokesperson said: “The council does not normally comment on the detail of individual cases, however, we have just received the Statement of Reasons confirming this decision from the First-tier Tribunal, the legal process now allows for the council along with the Department of Works and Pensions to decide if either party intends to request that; the decision is to be set aside and considered by another tribunal; or if we intend to seek leave to appeal to the Upper Tribunal for the case to be considered in more detail. The council has decided that it will appeal the decision.”

Mark Smulian

 

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