Boaters’ group intervenes to get housing benefit re-instated for liveaboards

This week Wiltshire Council tried to close the Housing Benefit claims of a number of boaters who live on non-residential moorings. The Council officers in question were unaware of case law from 2006 that confirms that Housing Benefit is payable even when the claimant’s occupation of their home is unlawful or does not have planning permission for residential use. The boaters contacted this web site and were put in touch with the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA), who took up the matter with the Council on their behalf. The first of the claims was re-instated the same day. Two boaters had been informed by phone that their Housing Benefit claims would be closed, that there was nothing to appeal, and that all boaters living on moorings that did not have planning permission for residential use would have their Housing Benefit applications closed. Housing Benefit regulations state that all decisions must be given in writing. Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights confers an absolute right to appeal against the decisions of public authorities. The Council’s Equality Officer and local MP Duncan Hames also played a part in getting the benefits re-instated after they were contacted on behalf of the boaters.

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