Nov 5 2013
Lone mothers and their children have lost their legal challenge to the Government's flagship "benefit cap" policy.
Two High Court judges ruled today that new capping regulations introduced by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith are lawful.
The capping affects housing benefit, child benefit and child tax credit to families who do not work sufficient hours to qualify for working tax credit and is set at £500 per week for couples or lone parents.
Lawyers acting for three mothers and one child from each family, all from the London area, say the "cruel and arbitrary" measure is "reminiscent of the days of the workhouse", and the women fear it will leave them destitute.
Dismissing their claim for judicial review, Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Bean said that no doubt many considered the cap to be "too parsimonious".
They ruled: "But that is ultimately a policy issue, and for the reasons we have given we do not think it can be said that the scheme is so manifestly unfair or disproportionate as to justify an interference by the courts."
During the court hearing, lawyers for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) argued the cap was "manifestly justifiable to make savings, and seek to reduce the fiscal deficit, by capping benefits at the level of average earnings".