Judge Kicks Out Housing Benefit Legal ChallengeMake Text Bigger
Judges have deemed new government rules to cap housing benefit and rental home sizes do not discriminate against poor families.
The Child Poverty Action group launched a legal challenge against the shake-up of housing benefit rules as part of the government’s universal credit policy.
As part of the welfare review, the government changed housing benefit rules in April to restrict the maximum size of a rented home to four bedrooms and to limit the cash councils pay families on housing benefit.
The Child Poverty Action Group’s case claimed the new rules discriminated against the poor because:
- The changes contravene the basic purpose of housing benefit, which was originally intended to be a national scheme to prevent homelessness
- The government has failed to consider the impact the changes have on general equality duties because ethnic minorities and lone parents are disproportionately affected by the changes
In court, Mr Justice Supperstone, sided with the government view that housing benefit is not to prevent homelessness but to help claimants with rent while also protecting the public purse.
He has also held nothing stops the government from setting a cap on payments.
Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Alison Garnham, said: “We are greatly disappointed at today’s judgment. Minority ethnic and lone parent families are already at higher risks of child poverty and the cuts to housing benefit that we challenged will make this situation even worse, driving people out of their homes and disrupting children’s education.
“The bad news for poor families is piling up this week, following the stark warning from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that hundreds of thousands more children will fall into poverty because of the government’s welfare reforms.
“We will now be studying the decision before deciding on our next steps. We will continue opposing the cuts and campaigning for fairness and justice for the families who are bearing the brunt of a financial crisis that they were not responsible for.”
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