Sophie Earnshaw's blog
This autumn the benefit cap will be cut, squeezing low-income families even further and pushing more people into poverty. The Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 lowers the cap to £23,000 per annum for families (or £15,410 for single claimants) in London and £20,000 for families (or £13,400 for single claimants) outside of London. There are currently 3.9 million children living in poverty. Projections from the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that child poverty could rise by 50 per cent by 2020. Tightening the cap and taking away more support from low-income households will have a devastating effect on families and children.
CPAG welcomes the Upper Tribunal decision on disabled refugee children who up to now, have not been entitled to disability living allowance (DLA) until they have spent over two years in the UK. On 17 March 2016, Judge Kate Markus QC found that the current past presence test unjustifiably discriminates against refugees and their family members and should therefore be dis-applied.
Following last month’s victory in the Court of Appeal, the battle continues for Paul and Sue Rutherford and their severely disabled grandson, Warren. The Court held that the ‘bedroom tax’ (or under-occupancy penalty) is in breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, unlawfully discriminating against disabled children requiring overnight care and victims of domestic violence living in Sanctuary Scheme Homes (in the case of ‘A’). The Government was quick to appeal this decision. We have been representing the Rutherford family since 2013 and will be in the Supreme Court defending the Court of Appeal’s decision from 29 February. SSWP v Rutherfords has been joined with other bedroom tax cases, MA & Others and A.