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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

High Court ruling shines a light on unfair benefit cap

Local charity Housing Rights has welcomed a recent ruling from the High Court that declared the benefit cap was “unlawful” and causes “real misery for no good purpose” to lone parents.

The ruling was made in response to a judicial review brought by four lone parent families who argued the benefit cap would have a disproportionate impact on them, as they were unable to work more than 16 hours a week.

The benefit cap places a limit on the total amount of benefits a working-age household can receive. Although introduced to Northern Ireland in 2016, the impact of it has not yet been fully realised locally as the Assembly mitigated the losses for households with dependent children until 31 March 2020. It is estimated just under 2,500 households in Northern Ireland are affected by the benefit cap, losing an average of £60 a week.

Ursula Toner, Advice Manager with Housing Rights commented:

“The benefit cap puts at risk the homes and health of those who are already among the poorest and most disadvantaged in society. We welcome today’s ruling as it shines a light on the suffering the cap can inflict on households, especially lone parents and children.“

The Government have launched an appeal in response to todays ruling.

ENDS
For further information contact Frances at Housing Rights on 90 267925

Spokesperson available

Notes to editors:

  • Housing Rights is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland.  Established in 1964 the charity works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems.
  • Last year the organisation provided advice and assistance on over 42,000 housing issues.
  • Housing Rights has worked to ensure the mitigations for the benefit cap protect affected households in Northern Ireland.
  • According to government analysis 78% of affected households in Northern Ireland are lone parent households Pg 14 https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/dsd/n...