Lone parent families win permission to challenge reduced benefit cap

The High Court has granted permission to four lone parent families to challenge the reduced benefit cap.

The claimants argue that the lack of an exemption for lone parents of children aged under two is discriminatory and unlawful since other vulnerable groups were recognised in this way.

Capping was introduced in 2013 to limit the total benefits that working-age not in employment receive, regardless of whether their individual entitlements would be higher.

The original cap was last November lowered from £26,000 to £20,000 a year for families (£23,000 in London).

QCs Caoilfhionn Gallagher and Ian Wise of Doughty Street Chambers are acting for the four families, who fear the reduced cap will have severe effects on their circumstances.

Capping does not apply to those who work at least 16 hours a week to qualify for Working Tax Credit.

The families argue there should have been an exemption as the Government accepts they should not be expected to work and free childcare for low income families starts only when children are aged two.

Mr Justice Morris has ruled they had a realistic prospect of success and the full hearing is due in May.

Mark Smulian

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