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No deduction for Housing Benefits, says the Supreme Court

Related Member(s):
Dan Squires QC, Chris Buttler
Related Practice Area(s):
Human Rights

The Supreme Court has ruled that housing benefit entitlement should be calculated without deduction in claims relating to before the removal of the “bedroom tax”. In this case it was found there would be a breach in the claimant’s Convention rights.

The court considered the previous decision of R (Carmichael) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] UKSC 58, where decision-makers in the housing benefit system, the First-tier Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal heard appeals relating to periods before the regulations governing the “bedroom tax” were removed. It was considered whether the effect of the regulations should apply in their original form or whether the housing benefit should be calculated without making the percentage deduction.

Held: The Supreme Court allowed the appeal. It made the same order that the appeal against the local authority’s decision of 5 March 2013 is allowed; and that RR’s housing benefit entitlement was to be recalculated without making the under-occupancy deduction of 14%. The reason for doing so was namely that if the deduction was applied, there would be a clear breach of RR’s Convention rights.

Chris Buttler and Dan Squires QC represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission who were the first Interveners in this case.

Link to Judgment here.

Link to Press Summary here.