A heartening legal victory about council charges for social care.

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A recent judgement from the High Court is that Norfolk County Council’s decision to increase care charges for a severely disabled woman was declared discriminatory (Severely disabled woman wins her claim that council care charges are discriminatory – Being The Boss). Under the Care Act 2014, Councils can decide whether they charge for social care and what charge they make, provided that they leave people with the minimum amount that they are allowed to keep under the government’s Minimum Income Guarantee. What Norfolk County Council had done was to take the claimant’s enhanced benefits into account in deciding what to charge her and fail to allow for the fact that she was unable to undertake paid work. The judge ruled that this was discriminatory under the ECHR:

  1. Because the Council was excluding people’s earnings from its assessments for care charges, disabled people unable to work were being treated as if they had earnings as well as benefits.
  2. The Council’s decision also meant that people with the highest support needs were being charged more than those with lower needs.

The court action resulted from tremendous campaigning by a local disability network in Norfolk, supported by Inclusion London and the legal firm Leigh Day.

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