Hackney Community Law Centre

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PRESS STATEMENT: Court of Appeal update (Webb-Harnden (claimant/appellant) v London Borough of Waltham Forest (defendant/respondent)


On 13 July 2023 the Court of Appeal considered our homelessness challenge in a case about Waltham Forest’s homelessness rehousing policy. Waltham Forest has relied upon the benefit cap as a way to determine where people are offered rehousing and as a result of this our client and her children were provided with private accommodation in the West Midlands despite her and her family’s very strong ties to East London.  The benefit cap disproportionately affects single parent households and so impacts women more than men - we have long argued that this aspect of the council’s homeless policy has a discriminatory impact as the effect is to ensure that single parent households (the vast majority of which are headed by single mothers) are only ever considered for rehousing very far from London. The appeal now considers whether this was in breach of the Equality Act 2010.  Judgment from the Court is now awaited. This will be an important case for homeless households in Waltham Forest, but will also have implications for many other homeless families in Hackney and across London.