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Islington solicitors hail three victories in battles over Bedroom Tax

Helen Sheldon, who worked on the cases, and Lorna Reid Helen Sheldon, who worked on the cases, and Lorna Reid

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
10:50 AM

A woman set to be charged for a “spare” room so her severely disabled son could visit her was among those who scored a victory against the Government’s much maligned bedroom tax.

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The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, was told she would have to stump up 25 per cent of her housing benefit – an average of £25 a week – because she kept a room for her son to sleep in when he wasn’t at a care home.

She said: “My circumstances weren’t taken into account at all.

“My adult son is very disabled and lives most of the time in a care home.

“He stays with me two to three nights a week.

“This is really important as he feels calmer when he’s at home. He needs special equipment because of his disability and I keep this in a small room near to his bedroom.

“I was horrified when I heard my benefit was going to be cut. I didn’t know how I was going to buy food, pay my bills and keep up to date with my rent.”

Two other cases, also won by the Islington Law Centre at separate tribunals, involved a woman who needed a bedroom to look after her grandchild and give her disabled daughter some rest, and in another the tribunal 
judged the room was an odd shape and should never have been classed as a bedroom.

Lorna Reid, from the centre on Devonia Road, Islington, said: “It’s never too late to appeal.

Delighted

“People whose housing benefit has been reduced because the Government has decided they have an unnecessary spare room, are really struggling to make ends meet.

“We are delighted that we recently won three cases at the appeal tribunal.”

She added: ”After winning their appeals all three people are now getting full housing benefit.”

The bedroom tax, which came into force last April, isn’t actually a tax at all – it is a reduction in housing benefit. People assessed to have a spare bedroom will lose 14 per cent of their income, or 25 per cent for those with two or more.

Households are allowed one bedroom for each adult or couple, children under 16 must share if they are the same gender and children under 10 will have to share regardless of gender.

n To contact the Islingotn Law Centre, call 0207 288 7630.

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