THE Labour leadership of Sandwell Council has been blasted after its policy to prevent vulnerable people claiming council tax support was overturned in court.

The Child Poverty Action Group successfully argued Sandwell Council's policy to stop London benefit claimants moving to Sandwell hit local vulnerable people the most.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom ruled the policy, which prevent council tax support being given to anyone had not lived in the borough for two years, as discriminatory and irrational.

Sandwell Council will now have to reverse its policy.

Former Langley Independent Socialist Councillor Mick Davies slammed council leader Cllr Darren Cooper and the Labour cabinet.

He said: "This case is yet another example of the total incompetence of Sandwell Council particularly Cabinet Members and senior officers.

"The scathing judgment handed down by the judge should be read by all of the councillors as it highlights an arrogance that comes with almost total power the ‘we can do what we like’ attitude."

He added: "The language used is that of the right, the Tory tones of ‘benefit tourism’ which is a policy more in keeping with UKIP than a Labour Party which when I joined was a party committed to protecting the vulnerable."

Mr Davies claims the legal problems of the policy should have been highlighted before it was put into practice.

He said: "The lack of scrutiny of these decisions is frightening and so is the quality of legal advice given by Council Legal Officers.

"A Labour controlled Council being taken to Court by CPAG is as embarrassing as it is comment on the competence or lack of it, of the council’s executive."

He added: "Lack of consultation, discriminatory overtones were also identified in the judgment but will anyone take any responsibility?

"I doubt it as the ‘leader’ of the council talking about appealing.

"Does it ever rain where he lives?"

Sandwell Council leader Cllr Darren Cooper said: "Our aim was to prioritise support to vulnerable people who've lived here continuously for two years or more at the point of making a claim and discourage people from other parts of the country moving here to take advantage of cheaper housing and adding further demands to our reduction scheme."