Lone mothers lose benefit battle

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Lone mothers have narrowly lost their Supreme Court challenge to cutbacks in the benefits system.

The highest court in the land has ruled by a 3-2 majority verdict that the Benefit Cap (Housing Benefit) Regulations 2012 are not unlawful.

The decision was a blow for two women forced after suffering domestic violence into temporary accommodation in London who brought the legal challenge.

Their lawyers argued that the cuts violated human rights laws and had a disproportionate and discriminatory effect on women, especially those seeking to escape violent partners.

The Supreme Court decision upholds a Court of Appeal ruling that the capping measures were lawful.

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefits a household can receive to £500 a week for couples and £350 a week for households of a single adult.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “I am delighted that the country’s highest court has agreed with this Government and overwhelming public opinion that the benefit cap is right and fair.

“I am proud to say that it is one of the most significant reforms we’ve implemented over the past five years.

“A key part of the long-term economic plan, the benefit cap is encouraging people to change their behaviour and motivating them to find work.”

The two lone parents went to the Supreme Court, along with a representative child from each family.

Their lawyers argued that the cap unjustifiably discriminated against abuse victims, who are predominantly women, and failed to have regard to the best interests of the child.

They said the cap substantially reduces weekly income and puts the mothers at risk of losing their safe homes.

Published: Wednesday 18th March 2015 by The News Editor

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