Bedroom Tax Breaches Human Rights Laws Says Supreme Court - RightsInfo

Bedroom Tax Breaches Human Rights Laws Says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has said that part of the Government’s bedroom tax/spare room subsidy scheme breaches human rights laws.

Key facts

A number of disabled people appealed to the Supreme Court over the application of the bedroom tax to their cases

The Supreme Court’s judgment is complicated as the justices ruled on a number of different points – the claimants were successful in some and not in others. The government also appealed and lost against parts of the Court of Appeal’s judgment – complicated!

The key thing is that Mrs Carmichael won her appeal. Because of her disabilities she can’t share a bedroom with her partner. Under the scheme, her family isn’t entitled to an extra room although a child in the same situation would be.

The Supreme Court said that the difference in treatment between children and adults was a breach of the human rights not to be discriminated against (article 14) and the protection of family and private life (article 8). The policy was “manifestly without reasonable foundation”.

Lord Toulson, one of the five justices, said “I cannot, with respect, see a sensible reason for distinguishing between adult partners who cannot share a bedroom because of disability and children who cannot do so because of disability.”

What this means is that the part of the bedroom tax scheme which affected Mrs Carmichael will be struck down – the government will have to revise the scheme to make it fair to adults with disabilities.


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About the Author

Adam Wagner

Founder and Chair
Adam is the founder and Chair of RightsInfo. In his day job, he is a barrister specialising in human rights law and is well known for his human rights communications work on social and mainstream media. In 2010 he set up the hugely successful UK Human Rights Blog. To email Adam, drop him a line. View all posts by Adam Wagner.
Bedroom Tax Breaches Human Rights Laws Says Supreme Court
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