Last Thursday (9 July) a petition was presented to Brighton and Hove City Council calling for Councillors to obey the the High Court’s ruling that those in receipt of Disability Allowance must not be discriminated against.
A straightforward and simple decision one would assume but it appears that a number of councils, including Brighton and Hove, have been acting unlawfully by refusing disabled people benefits because they already receive Disability Living Allowance.
The High Court ruled in March this year that councils were not allowed to do this and must review all cases affected by this since March 2013 (Since the introduction of the Bedroom Tax) Brighton & Hove City Council officers had evaded the issue despite it being the official policy of the council, and having cross party support, with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable.
The council even ignored regulations going back to the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 that specifically stated that DLA is not counted as income when deciding if a household is in need.
Following the issue being raised through an ‘e petition’ to the BHCC Policy and Resources Committee a little progress has been made although it is still surprising that it takes a petition to ensure the council acts lawfully!
Cllr Anne Meadows
Congratulations must go to Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of Housing and New Homes who has clearly mastered her portfolio and ensured that policy in the interest of local citizens is implemented.
On a personal note I must admit that when facing the Policy and Resources Committee and the apparent lack of interest from councillors present I felt I was wasting my time. However by ensuring the issue was placed on the political agenda it is hoped that councillors with genuine commitment will act.
In my presentation last Thursday I started with quoting Albert Einstein and I end with the same quote;