Green light for two child tax limit legal challenge

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The Child Poverty Action Group has been granted permission for a judicial review

18th October 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has been granted permission to carry out a legal challenge to a two-child limit on tax credits.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) learned yesterday (Tuesday 17 October) that the High Court had granted its plea for a judicial review of the policy, which was introduced by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.

The policy stops child tax credits or universal credit being paid for more than two children in most cases.

CPAG, which issued the high court claim against pensions secretary David Gauke in August, argues that the limit is discriminatory and breaches the right to a private and family life under human rights law.

The charity’s solicitor Carla Clarke said: “You have the government saying this is about people making rational decisions on whether they have more children. But if birth control fails it puts a woman in the position of deciding if they continue with the pregnancy, knowing the child will not bring any more child tax credits into the family, or have an abortion.

“There’s a lot of women who might not have any particular religious persuasion but, as a fundamental ethical matter, will not entertain abortion. To put women through that is unbelievable.”

CPAG considers that the two child limit unlawfully discriminates against a number of different groups including children with multiple siblings, large families and those with a religious or moral objection to the use of birth control.

It estimates that more than 250,000 children will be pushed into poverty as a result of this measure by the end of the decade, representing a 10% increase in child poverty.

The challenge is likely to be heard early in the new year.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “This reform ensures people on benefits make the same choices as those supporting themselves solely through work. But we have always been clear this will be delivered in the most effective, compassionate way, with the right safeguards in place.”