Should authorities review their Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) decision-making processes and budgets to ensure they identify those cases with similar situations?
The Supreme Court’s ruling on the spare room deduction case, which it heard at the end of February 2016, was published on 9 November 2016. Many commentators have awaited this ruling with interest, in expectation that it may provide a definitive ruling on the legality, or otherwise, of the bedroom tax legislation as a whole.
In fact, the Court took a narrow approach in only considering the small number of situations raised by the specific appeals before it, in the application of the bedroom tax, and did not address the wider legality of the policy.
Authorities will need to decide whether to review such cases in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling or to ‘stay’ any review, pending the DWP introducing new regulations. Authorities should review their DHP decision-making processes and budgets to ensure they identify those cases with similar situations to those which the Supreme Court ruled should be considered for the award of a DHP to mitigate any discriminatory effects of the bedroom tax regulations.