New figures show families in London lose more money each week than any other part of England.
Major changes are being made to the welfare system from next month, some specifically for Londoners.
A tax on social housing tenants deemed to have an extra bedroom will hit disabled people and divorced parents hard.
A resident in Maida Vale, living in a one bedroom sheltered housing block, has been sent a £1,200 'Bedroom Tax' bill by Westminster Council by mistake. The resident, who has not been named said:
I received a letter from Westminster benefits office stating that I am under occupying my 1 bedroom flat! I live in sheltered accommodation, and as far as I am aware I am exempt from the bedroom tax, I believe this applies to all sheltered accommodation in the country.
I receive pension credit and I was born before the 7th of October 1951. I have been informed that I have been overpaid £1,233.28. Will Westminster City Council take me to court? Will the council evict me and all the other sheltered accommodation residents who cannot pay?
Westminster City Council said:
We apologise. This was a computer error and we rectified the problem as soon as it was reported to us. We are also in the process of making sure this type of error does not occur again.
– Ugo Hayter, Lawyer
We are extremely pleased to be able to take our fight to the Court of Appeal.
We remain confident that this unfair - and we believe unlawful - bedroom tax will be repealed.
Lawyers representing adults and children with disabilities have won permission to challenge the legality of the Government's so-called "bedroom tax" in the Court of Appeal.
- An appeal judge has ruled ten test cases should be heard
- The appeal was granted on the ground they raise issues of public importance
- Cases illustrate "serious impact" of regulations on disabled people up and down the country in social housing
Earlier this week, ITV News reported on the story of a blind man who won his case against Westminster Council.
When is a bedroom, not a bedroom? Well according to the law, when it is being used for storage.
Why does it matter? Well it matters to anyone hit by the government's so-called Bedroom Tax.
In the first case of its kind in England, Londoner Surinder Lall's lawyers argued his spare bedroom was actually being used to store vital equipment to help with his disabilty, arguing his full housing benefit should be reinstated. He won.
Our Political Correspondent Simon Harris reports.
Westminster Council has said it won't appeal against the decision but the Government could. Mr Lull's solicitor, Coral Williams, explains the judge's ruling:
Surinder Lall appealed against Westminster Council's reduction of his Housing Benefit, saying he relies on the equipment in his bedroom to lead a normal life. As the sole occupant of his housing association flat in Maida Vale, he was about to have his Housing Benefit cut by £12 a week.
"It enables me to function independently...."It's a misnomer to call it a bedroom, it's a room that is used for my equipment."
Westminster Council has emphasised responsibility lies with a landlord to specify how many bedrooms a property has, not the council.
– Westminster City Council
“Westminster Council reduced Mr Lall’s housing benefit on the grounds his landlord described the property as having two bedrooms - under national regulations, it is up to the landlord to list the number of bedrooms in a property, not the government or the local authority.
“The housing association changed its assessment shortly before the tribunal case which supported Mr Lall’s argument that the additional room was not a bedroom, but a space to store equipment needed by a disabled person.
Westminster Council spokesperson went on to say representatives have been working to find a solution:
– Westminster City Council
“The council had previously invited Mr Lall to apply for a discretionary housing payment to make up the shortfall from the loss of housing benefit stemming from a second bedroom, but he turned this down.
” Westminster Council has a number of measures in place to help those who may be affected by welfare reform, including specialist advisors.”
A blind man has won a landmark legal case against Westminster Council over the so-called 'bedroom tax'. A judge has ruled Surinder Lall's second bedroom can't be classed as one.
In the first case of its kind in England, his lawyers argued his spare bedroom was actually being used to store vital equipment to help with his disabilty, arguing his full housing benefit should be reinstated, and he won.
- The Government says the so-called 'bedroom tax' will save £500 million off the benefit bill every year.
- In London, it affects 80, 000 households, two thirds of which are disabled occupants.
- It's a fixed percentage of the Housing Benefit eligible rent. This is set at 14% for one extra bedroom and 25% for two or more.
- Those affected will lose £14 a week on average.
- Housing association tenants lose an average of £16 a week.