It really was a David and Goliath struggle. But a group of single mothers have won a striking legal victory over the government on controversial benefit legislation which they said was pushing them into poverty.
A High Court judge sided with the families, who had argued the benefit cap policy discriminated against them and was therefore unlawful.
Mr Justice Collins condemned the cap, saying it was not meant to apply to single-parent families with children under two. “Real misery is being caused to no good purpose,” he added.
The policy, which limits the cash out-of-work families receive from the government to £20,000 a year (£23,000 in London), is aimed at incentivising work, the government says. Parents must work 16 hours per week to avoid the cap.
But the judge said: “The evidence shows that the cap is capable of real damage to individuals such as the claimants. They are not workshy but find it, because of the care difficulties, impossible to comply with the work requirement.”
Single-parent charity Gingerbread provided a witness statement and written evidence to the High Court, showing that the legislation unfairly affects parents with babies and toddlers who find it most difficult to find flexible employment and childcare that would allow them to work.