Benefit caps on single parents with children under two are unlawful

Man holding cardboard paper with HUMAN RIGHTS title

Single parents with a child under two have won a court challenge as they face “real misery” from the government’s benefits cap.

A High Court judge said the cap was not intended to cover such households, had “no good purpose”, and the failure to exempt them was discriminatory.

The government said it intended to appeal and there would be no change to the cap while this process was ongoing.

The cap limits the income households receive in certain benefits.

It stands at £23,000 for those in London and £20,000 a year outside London. Parents must work for at least 16 hours a week to avoid the cap.

The ruling was made in response to a judicial review brought by four lone parent families – including two who had been made homeless owing to domestic violence. Their solicitor said their benefits were, or were expected to be, cut as they were unable to work the 16 hours.

The judge said that the caps, which are estimated to effect roughly 26,000 lone parents, “obviously” exacerbated poverty.

Under Article 11 of the International Convenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, everyone has the right to a decent standard of living and Article 9 sets out the right to social security.

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