Dr Yusuf Ali Osman, a self-employed particular person who’s visually impaired, has been granted £500 in compensation by the Croydon Borough Council as a result of modifications made to its Council Tax Discount Scheme (CTR) in 2022.
Dr Osman, aged 43, of Croydon, was left dealing with a council tax invoice of a whole lot of kilos when within the years earlier than 2022 he had been exempt from the cost.
Within the Excessive Courtroom in London on Wednesday, Dr Osman claimed that the adjustments to the CTR in 2022 had been discriminatory to him as a blind self-employed one who was not capable of earn the Minimal Earnings Flooring (MIF) of £332.50 (minus tax and NI) per week. The Scheme inflates self-employed earners’ earnings to the MIF even when they aren’t capable of obtain earnings wherever close to this stage due to incapacity or caring obligations. This implies their earnings is artificially larger than it truly is and their entitlement to council tax discount is due to this fact decrease.
Croydon Council’s 2022 adjustments to the CTR utilized the MIF to a number of classes of people that had been exempt from the MIF that applies underneath the Common Credit score scheme, from the place the idea is borrowed. The MIF was utilized to Dr Osman as somebody with restricted functionality for work or work-related exercise. Some pensioners, some disabled individuals, some carers, some college students and a few foster mother and father had been additionally affected in the same method.
Mr Justice Mostyn awarded Dr Osman the damages and prices that had been agreed between Croydon Borough Council and Dr Osman’s authorized representatives simply earlier than the listening to started.
Mr Justice Mostyn mentioned that Croydon Borough Council had mainly surrendered in that it not subjected disabled self-employed individuals to the MIF and, due to the steps taken by Dr Osman, he needs to be credited with that. He mentioned Dr Osman had achieved success in his declare and that the authorized problem was very nicely argued by either side.
Dr Osman’s case is the final that the decide has heard within the Administrative Courtroom earlier than he retires in July.
Solely after Dr Osman launched his authorized problem to the council’s 2022 guidelines in regards to the MIF and incapacity associated earnings did Croydon Council determine to exempt him from council tax.
It has modified the scheme once more for 2023 to free disabled individuals from the discriminatory provisions, however the scheme nonetheless impacts different people who find themselves not anticipated to be in full time work. They embody individuals who look after individuals with disabilities or under-threes, pensioners with a working-age companion, current adopters, many college students and plenty of foster mother and father.
Whereas the 2023 scheme disregards some incapacity associated earnings it nonetheless doesn’t disregard different incapacity associated part of Employment and Assist Allowance.
Dr Yusuf Osman mentioned:
“It’s no surprise that Croydon Borough Council is topic to one more part 114 discover on condition that they spend cash preventing authorized challenges that shouldn’t have to be fought because of poorly designed schemes as a result of unlawful clauses, incompetent drafting or implementation. Though the council have nonetheless not admitted any fault, the tip of this story proves that there was fault.
“My struggle over the previous yr has had a constructive affect. At the very least 58 individuals aside from me have had their council tax choices modified and most significantly the council did change the scheme for disabled self-employed individuals like me.
“Extra broadly there are different councils doing comparable issues to Croydon and we should struggle. Governments whether or not nationwide or native can’t be allowed to deal with any citizen in the way in which that Croydon has handled me over the previous yr.”
Dr Osman is represented by Leigh Day solicitor Kate Egerton, who mentioned:
“Yusuf has been totally vindicated in his authorized marketing campaign to problem Croydon Borough Council over its discriminatory Council Tax Discount Scheme and, because the decide mentioned, he might be very pleased with that.
“Nonetheless, though the council has altered its Council Tax Discount Scheme to handle the discriminatory affect for self-employed individuals who have disabilities, it has nonetheless failed to handle the drawback it has created for different teams of people that could be exempted from the Minimal Earnings Flooring underneath Common Credit score rules. These embody carers and other people with younger youngsters.
“Yusuf’s declare wasn’t capable of problem Croydon Borough Council on behalf of those classes of individuals, however the way in which is open for somebody who continues to be affected to convey a judicial evaluation problem in opposition to the council.”