Clynderwen grandparents challenge Bedroom Tax in judicial review test case
11:02am Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A PEMBROKESHIRE couple who care for their profoundly-disabled grandson are being backed by the Child Poverty Action Group in a pioneering legal challenge of the ‘bedroom tax‘.
Thirteen-year-old Warren Todd is the only known sufferer in the UK of Potocki-Schaffer Syndrome. He is unable to walk, talk or feed himself and lives with his grandparents, Paul and Sue Rutherford, in a specially-built bungalow at Bro Waldo, Clynderwen.
Their case has been taken up by the charity to be the very first judicial review challenge of the bedroom tax on behalf of children who need overnight care. They are arguing that the policy discriminates against disabled youngsters, because adults who need a room for an overnight carer do not have their housing benefit reduced.
Mr and Mrs Rutherford's case was first highlighted by the Western Telegraph in July and they have since been successful in an appeal to Pembrokeshire County Council over the discretionary housing payment which was levied because of the third bedroom in their bungalow.
The property, which has been designated as Warren’s ‘home for life’ by the Pembrokeshire Housing Association, and has just had £20,000 of additional adaptations funded by the Welsh Assembly, needs the additional room for any carers staying overnight, and for storage of equipment needed by the teenager.
“While we are relieved that the county council has allowed our appeal, and are grateful to the Welsh Assembly for funding the adaptations, which is a real help in our 24-hour care of Warren, we want to go forward to judicial review to help other people in our situation,” said 56-year-old Mr Rutherford.
“We understand that ours is a test case as it is the first judicial review challenge of the bedroom tax relating to disabled children needing overnight care."
"It isn't likely to come to court for a number of months, and in the meantime we would be very pleased to hear from anyone else caring for a disabled youngster who has been penalised by the bedroom tax."
Said Child Poverty Action Group solicitor Michael Spencer: "Paul and Sue Rutherford work round the clock to care for their severely disabled grandson Warren. Without carers who can stay overnight they just wouldn't be able to cope and Warren would have to go into care, at substantial cost to the taxpayer.
"It simply doesn't make sense that the law allows an extra bedroom for adults who need overnight care, but not for disabled children."
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