Wheelchair-bound woman celebrates victory in appeal against bedroom tax

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A disabled woman unable to share a bedroom with her husband has won an appeal against the Government’s so-called bedroom tax.

In what is thought to be the first successful case of its kind in England, a tribunal found that the local authority had “not taken into consideration her disabilities and her reasonable requirements”.

The tenant, who has chosen to remain anonymous, suffers from various health conditions and this year had a stroke, leaving her in a wheelchair and requiring a stairlift.

Along with her husband, she had argued that due to her condition they required one bedroom each, but this was rejected by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council which said they were under-occupying their three-bedroom house.

But this decision has been overturned and could pave the way for many other similar challenges. “We took on the Government on the spare room subsidy and won,” the woman’s husband said.

“Getting a satisfactory outcome to our housing benefit tribunal was quite a surprise to us when you take into account what we read in the media and you see what has happened in the High Court recently.

“The tribunal concluded that although we are a couple, my wife’s particular circumstances, the extent and effect of her disabling medical conditions and her resulting needs due to her disabilities, mean that we reasonably require one bedroom each and should therefore be assessed for housing benefit on this basis.”

Iain Sim, chief executive of Coast & Country, which owns the property, said the firm had been campaigning against the subsidy on behalf of its tenants. “The bedroom tax is abhorrent,” he added.