Somerset County Council, ex parte Harcombe [1994] 96 LGR 444 (QBD) Somerset County Council, ex parte Harcombe [1994] 96 LGR 444 (QBD)

Residential accommodation – charging – capital – disregards

The local authority’s decision to create a charge on the applicant’s property (under s22 Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983), which was now occupied by her son, was not unreasonable. The applicant’s son had returned from Australia to help look after his ill mother, who had eventually had to go into residential care. Both parties agreed that that the only reason for which the local authority could have properly disregarded the capital value of the house, when assessing the applicant’s ability to pay, would have been if the son’s occupation of the house was attributable to the need for him to care for his mother, which was not the case. The judge found that in all the circumstances of the case it was not reasonable to disregard the value of the house: it was clear that the authority had carefully considered and evaluated all the relevant evidence before coming to its conclusion.

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