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Landmark win for Southport couple in country's highest court

A couple from Southport who fought the so-called bedroom tax are celebrating a win in the country's highest court.

Jacqueline Carmichael, who has Spina Bifida and her husband Jayson argued in the courts for four years that the tax unfairly discriminated against people with disabilities.

Now seven judges have agreed and the government's promised immediate changes which could affect thousands of families. The couple say they've finally been vindicated. Our correspondent Ashley Derricott reports.

Bedroom tax victory for Southport couple in Supreme Court

Jacqueline and Jayson have won a supreme court ruling Credit: ITV Granada

A couple from Southport have won a Supreme Court ruling over the controversial so-called 'bedroom tax'.

Jacqueline Carmichael, who's also known as Charlotte, suffers from Spina Bifida, and lives with her husband in a two bedroom housing association flat in Southport. Today Supreme Court justices overturned a decision taken by the Court of Appeal in 2014 which went against the couple.

Mrs Carmichael complained that changes to housing benefit unlawfully discriminate against people with disabilities who have a need for an additional bedroom because of that disability.

The 44-year-old's condition means she has to sleep in a fixed position in a hospital bed with an electronic pressure mattress. There is not enough space for a second bed so her husband, Jayson, sleeps in a separate bedroom. Their benefit was cut by 14% when the ruling came in.

Mrs Carmichael and her husband Jayson were at the Supreme Court this morning Credit: ITV Granada

We are overjoyed at the Supreme Court decision. We have been through almost four years of the sheer hell of the bedroom tax policy, and this decision vindicates our long and difficult fight.

Out of this human rights victory over the bedroom tax we ask Theresa May to now reconsider the whole policy for everyone.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us from day one, and hope others get justice too.

– Mr & Mrs Carmichael

Before an earlier Supreme Court hearing began in February, Mr Carmichael, who is in his fifties and is full-time carer for his wife, spoke outside court of the "heartache" they have suffered following the changes.

The Department for Work and Pensions now say they'll take steps to ensure they comply with the judgement in due course.

In the two specific cases where the Court did not find in our favour, we will take steps to ensure we comply with the judgement in due course.

In most cases, Local Authorities are best placed to understand the needs of their residents, which is why we will have given them over £1bn by the end of this parliament for Discretionary Housing Payments to ensure that people in difficult situations don’t lose out.

– DWP spokesperson


Party People: Exclusive interview with David Cameron

This week Rob McLoughlin talks exclusively to David Cameron Credit: Granada reports

In this week's 'Party People' David Cameron talks exclusively to Rob McLoughlin about his bid to win over the North West and about the possibility of a coalition with Ukip.

We try and find out what 5 more years of David Cameron in Downing Street would mean for people in the region, for the NHS, for benefits, and for the so called 'bedroom tax'.

  1. Daniel Hewitt, ITV News

Exclusive - David Cameron gives new hope to Southport woman in a battle against the bedroom tax

A severely disabled woman says she has fresh hope in her battle against the so-called bedroom tax after the Prime Minister agreed to personally look into her case.

Charlotte Carmichael, from Southport, suffers from Spina Bifida and needs a specialist bed to sleep.

Last year, a judge ruled that she should be exempt from paying for the second bedroom she says she needs.

The government are trying to overturn that decision and make her pay for it.

But in an exclusive interview David Cameron has told ITV News he will investigate the matter.

Political Reporter Daniel Hewitt has the story:

In a statement the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Since 2013 councils have received almost £500m of extra funding to support the most vulnerable, including £75m for disabled people.”

  • Watch the exclusive interview with David Cameron in full on Party People at 10.40pm tonight on ITV Granada.

Residents have their say on bedroom tax

The bedroom tax proposals have caused controversy in the region Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Housing bosses from Manchester will meet with residents today to discuss the impact of bedroom tax.

It came into effect five months ago.

In an open forum housing providers and care workers will look into the financial and human impact of welfare reform.


Family 'bitterly disappointed' by 'bedroom tax' ruling

A disabled woman from Southport has lost a legal challenge over the controversial bedroom tax.

Charlotte Carmichael, who has spina bifida, sleeps in an adapted bedroom at home which she says her husband can't share.

They were one of ten families to ask for a judicial review over the benefit cuts to people in homes classified as too large.

The High Court ruled the changes don't breach their human rights.

  1. National

DWP welcomes 'bedroom tax' High Court ruling

We are pleased to learn that the court has found in our favour and agreed that we have fulfilled our equality duties to disabled people.

Reform of housing benefiting the social sector is essential, so the taxpayer does not pay for people’s extra bedrooms. But we have ensured extra discretionary housing support is in place to help those who need it and today we have announced a further £35m of funding to councils to aid residents.

– A DWP spokesperson
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