Bedroom tax ruling ‘opens the door’ for separated parents

Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves

A tribunal in England has ruled that separated parents are being wrongly charged with the ‘bedroom tax’ in a ruling that can open the floodgates for thousands of claimants.

Tribunal judge A.N. Moss ruled that a child of parents living apart is entitled to a bedroom in each of their homes for visits and that the bedroom tax should not apply to either of the homes.

The ruling could potentially mean thousands of claimants have been wrongly charged.

The decision was made in the case of a father in Middlesbrough who had 14 per cent docked from his housing benefit.

The local authority decided the single man was under-occupying his two-bed semi but he argued the extra room was used by his son under a deal by which the boy stays up to three nights a week with him.

An earlier hearing had ruled that the unnamed man must pay up but the decision was overthrown when the dad appealed. Judge Moss said the youngster was entitled to a room of his own “and consequently no deduction applies”.

He insisted: “It’s now a normal part of society that children split their time between their parents.”

Bedroom tax campaigner Joe Halewood said: “This case opens the door for all separated parents with shared care arrangements whose children have two homes.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves added: “This shows the bedroom tax is cruel and unfair. Ministers should scrap it.”

The Sunday People reports that work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith will appeal the decision.

A DWP spokesman said the ruling “doesn’t change the wider policy”.

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