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