Extra Care Scheme

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    Sue Mullins

    Good morning,

    We have a new extra care scheme being built, we are querying some of the service charges as the scheme provides catering and hairdressing. The catering service charges relate to equipment and maintenance of the catering equipment.

    We do not think these these costs are eligible, however are expecting to be challenged due to the LL stating the claimant is obliged to pay under terms of occupation.

    Furthermore any advise on how we should apportion heating/water etc ?

    Many thanks

    Peter Barker

    I would say that all costs associated with a meal service payable as a condition of tenancy are covered by the standard HB deductions in para 2 of Schedule 1:

    – Ingredients
    – Fuel used to cook
    – Staff time planning menus, shopping, cooking, serving, clearing up afterwards
    – Equipment used
    – The space where meals are served, including heating and lighting that space

    All the costs you would have if you were running a commercial cafe.


    Well Done Peter – Yes Para 2 generally talks about standard deductions.

    However, there is an argument put forward lucidly by Andy Thurman that says, if I may paraphrase, that after you have taken off the ‘standard deduction’ then if the remainder is still excessive, then that remainder could be subject to restriction.

    It’s certainly a novel thought and I doubt whether it has been tested but
    YMMV (Your mileage may vary)

    Peter Barker

    Yes I think that is correct. A meal charge is only an ineligible service charge to the extent of the para 2 standard deductions – the part of the charge that exceeds those standard amounts is an eligible service charge and as such can be restricted under para 4 if it is excessive. I think the words “subject to paragraph 2” at the start of para 4 mean that, before you consider whether the meal charge is excessive, you must first deduct the para 2 amounts, but having done so you could then conclude that the remainder is excessive and restrict it.

    The first time I heard that argument was in a Tribunal when the Judge asked me whether i wanted to argue tat the meal charge is unreasonably high. I said: why would I? It’s ineligible, but the deduction is always a fixed amount. The Judge and the claimant’s rep then exchanged glances, as this was not the first appeal by tenants of that scheme in that area with that rep. The Judge then set out the argument summarised above and invited me to comment. Obviously I wasn’t in a position to make any submission about it because I hadn’t researched the costs. I realised then why the appellant’s submission included a menu from the local cafe!


    I realised then why the appellant’s submission included a menu from the local cafe!

    ooooh – I feel meal charges from Le Gavroche coming on 🙂

    Andy Thurman

    For clarity, my personal take is that an argument would (could possibly) be that, if by comparison to the true cost of a meal provision, a stated service charge was excessive, a deduction under Sch 1 could be applied.
    In other words, how can a comparison to the DWP rates usefully inform on whether a meal charge is excessive? Good luck getting anyone to provide, prepare and serve breakfast all week for £4.05!!

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Andy Thurman.
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