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14 JUN 2012

Burnip v Birmingham City Council [2012] EWCA Civ 629

Social security - Housing benefit - Calculation - Disability discrimination - Justification - Relief

The single bedroom rule, which is used to calculate an individual's housing benefit rate was found was to amount to unjustified disability discrimination and so breached Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights 1950. Due to an amendment in the Housing Benefit Regulations, the court only made declarations to that effect.

15 May 2012

Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

Maurice Kay and Hooper LJJ and Henderson J

(1)        Three appeals from the Upper Tribunal were joined because of a common issue relating to the calculation of housing benefit in cases where households included one or more disabled person. Ian Burnip and Lucy Trengrove (B and T) had severe disabilities and both required two-bedroom flats in order to accommodate a carer. However, their entitlement to housing benefit was calculated on the basis of a one-bedroom rate as the carers did not come within the definition of "occupiers" for the purposes of regulation 13D(12) of the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006, as the accommodation was not their home. Richard Gorry (G) lived with his family, which included his wife and three children. They lived in a four-bedroom house. Two of G's children were disabled and it was inappropriate for them to share a bedroom. However, G's housing benefit was calculated by reference to a three-bedroom rate which would apply to the family if the children were not disabled and could share a bedroom by virtue of regulation 13D(3)(c) of the Housing Benefit Regulations.

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