CPAG is looking for bedroom tax cases (urgent)

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is urgently looking for case studies following the Court of Appeal’s decision in R(Rutherford) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2016] EWCA Civ 29, which is likely to be appealed to the Supreme Court.

They are keen to hear about any families with disabled children who have been affected by the housing benefit size criteria (or “the bedroom tax”) because they need an extra room for a carer or carers to stay overnight.  The families may be renting in the private or the social rented sector.

If you are an adviser who has seen people in this situation, or a claimant who is personally affected, please email CPAG on testcases@cpag.org.uk before 10 February 2016.

Notes from Sunderland meeting

Thanks to everybody who came along to the NAWRA meeting at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland on Friday, and to Sunderland City Council’s welfare rights team for hosting us.

Prof Ted Schrecker, Professor of Global Health Policy at Durham University, delivered the Phil Hanns memorial lecture on how neoliberalist politics and economics has affected the most vulnerable in society.  Dr David Webster from Glasgow University updated us on his analysis of benefit sanction statistics.  There were popular workshops on using ESA safeguarding guidance, the ‘genuine prospect of work’ test for EU migrants, and Universal Credit.

Powerpoint slides by the speakers and workshop facilitators are now available in the members area.

Evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on hunger

Many thanks to all those NAWRA members who contributed to the CPAG survey on reasons for food bank use.

The response rate was fantastic, with more than 200 advisers filling in the survey. This formed the biggest part of a submission to Feeding Britain’s update report on behalf of twelve charities and faith groups, brought together under the banner of a working group on benefit administration.

This in turn was widely cited in the report itself, a lot of whose conclusions were very much in line with the evidence we presented. CPAG will continue to work on this issue, and the survey will be very helpful as part of that.

NAWRA meeting in Sunderland

Our next meeting will take place at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland on Friday 11 December 2015.  Thanks to Sunderland City Council for hosting us.

Our guest speakers will be Prof Ted Schrecker, Professor of Global Health Policy at Durham University and Dr David Webster from Glasgow University.

There will be workshops on using ESA safeguarding guidance, the ‘genuine prospect of work’ test for EU migrants, and Universal Credit.

As always, the meeting will be an opportunity to meet fellow welfare rights advisers, ask questions and share ideas.

Agenda

You must be a member of NAWRA to attend the meeting. If you are not already a member,  find out more about joining.

Regulation 35(2)b of ESA Regulations and subsequent submissions by SoS following this precedent

These paragraphs from a submission made by the Secretary of State are a new indication of how the Secretary of State is attempting to meet the requirements as set out by the decision of IM v SSWP (ESA) [2014] UKUT 412 (AAC). The Secretary of State in the paragraphs 16 to 17 of this submission considers that the most demanding work-related activity would be a referral to Disability Action Dundee.  The least demanding work-related activity everyday would be leaving the house every day.

Suffice to say that the appellant met the requirements not under regulation 35(2b) but under descriptor 1 of schedule 3.  Given the Secretary of State at para 17 when considering work-related activity least demanding stated “ I believe having Mr ….. walk even a couple of metres from his home would benefit him physically….” it is not surprising the First tier Tribunal decision of a schedule 3 mobility descriptor.

I would further add that over the last 4 weeks all other ESA appeal papers have not contained such detail and have returned to “Eastern and Central Scotland” work-related activity provision, which a Regional Judge at First tier Tribunal considered did not meet the requirements of IM.”

Tom Lamb Dundee North Law Centre