Creating a fairer Britain
15 May 2012
A human rights case, in which the Commission intervened, has established that housing benefit must take into account the extra needs of disabled children and adults.
The Commission agrees with the common sense ruling on all three cases heard by the Court of Appeal. It says the decision will help stop disabled people from being evicted if the housing benefit cap means they or their parents do not get enough money to pay all the rent for a suitable home.
Mr Burnip has carers 24 hours a day to help him as he is severely disabled. He only got housing benefit for a one bedroom flat, as that was all he was entitled to at the time, but needed a second bedroom for his carers to sleep in overnight. Ms Trengrove, who has died, was in a similar situation.
Two of the three siblings in the Gorry family are disabled - one has Down's Syndrome, another has Spina Bifida. The family could only claim for a three bedroom home, so the two disabled children would have to share a bedroom. Their disabilities made this impossible.
The government has already changed the regulations for calculating housing benefits for disabled adults, but will now have to change it for families with disabled children.
John Wadham, General Counsel, Equality and |Human Rights Commission said:
"Our intervention in the Burnip case has helped to ensure that all disabled people claiming housing benefit do not face indirect discrimination. If it was not for the Human Rights Act, disabled people may be more likely fall into rent arrears because they cannot afford the home that meets their needs and then face eviction."
"The rulings underline our analysis of the government's 2010 spending review, published yesterday, which looked at potential effects of those decisions on women, ethnic minorities and disabled people. It calls for the development of a common model of analysis to predict the likely equality effects of policy and earlier use of the equality duties to ensure better targeting of funds and greater value for money.
For more press information contact the Commission's media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.
For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.
Article 14 of the Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination. It says:
"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.