Tory Bedroom Tax dealt landmark defeat in European Court of Human Rights

The Tories' hated Bedroom Tax was today dealt a landmark defeat in the European Court of Human Rights.

Judges ruled the benefit cut discriminated against a domestic violence victim who was forced to pay extra for her panic room.

The UK government has been ordered to pay the woman, who suffered rape and assault, 10,000 Euros (£8,600) for the "damage she suffered".

The ruling – which came by a 5-2 majority of judges – comes more than two years after the mum known only as A suffered a defeat in the UK Supreme Court.

Today's ruling said the policy meant she had "suffered a violation of her rights" under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (discrimination).

Ann Bevington of Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors, who acted for A, said: “These changes to housing benefit have had a catastrophic impact upon vulnerable people across the country.

"Our client, whose life is at risk, has suffered great anxiety as a result of the bedroom tax and the uncertainty about this case.

"She lives in a property which has been specially adapted by the police, at great expense, to protect her and her child.

"The prospect of having to move another property (where she will not have any of these protections) or take in a lodger has loomed large for her during the six years it has taken this case to reach this stage.

"She is a vulnerable single parent who has been a victim of rape and assault.

"She is delighted that after such a long battle, the European Court of Human Rights has recognised the impact that the bedroom tax is having on her and others like her.

'We now call on the Secretary of State to take swift action in response to today’s ruling, and to change the rules to exempt from the bedroom tax the small but extremely vulnerable class of women and children who need the safety of a sanctuary scheme whilst they try to rebuild their lives after surviving domestic violence.”

Today's judgement did not find in favour of a second claimant who lives in a three-bed adapted home with her severely disabled daughter.

The claimant known as JD said her rights over private life and discrimination were breached after being charged more for the extra room.

But in this second case, the judges said discretionary payments to plug the gap were a "proportional" way to deal with her case.

A DWP spokesman said: “We are carefully considering the judgement.”

This breaking news story is being updated.

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