A couple who care for their profoundly-disabled grandson have pledged to continue their fight against the ‘bedroom tax’ after losing a pioneering legal challenge.
Paul and Sue Rutherford were backed by the Child Poverty Action Group in the very first judicial review case of the controversial housing benefit reduction.
The couple - whose lives revolve around 14-year-old Warren Todd, who is unable to walk, talk or feed himself - argued that the policy discriminates against disabled youngsters, because adults who need a room for an overnight carer do not have their housing benefit reduced.
Warren is the only known sufferer in the UK of Potocki-Schaffer Syndrome, and lives with his grandparents in a specially-built three-bedroomed bungalow at Bro Waldo, Clynderwen.
The property has been designated as Warren’s ‘home for life’ by the Pembrokeshire Housing Association and has had £20,000 of additional adaptations funded by the Welsh Assembly. The third bedroom is used by carers who stay overnight at least twice a week - as well as coming in daily - and for storage of equipment.
The Rutherfords were successful in an appeal to Pembrokeshire County Council to receive a discretionary housing payment for a year, and it was on these grounds that a High Court judge has dismissed the judicial review claim.
Following the announcement today (Friday), Mr Rutherford said: “We are very disappointed. We made the appeal on behalf of all the other families looking after disabled children, on the principle that they should not be penalised for having a spare room.
“We will be going to appeal.”
*For more on this story, see next week’s Western Telegraph.