High Court rejects challenge over legality of rules setting up Universal Credit

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Two severely disabled men have lost a High Court challenge against the legality of Government regulations setting up the controversial Universal Credit benefits scheme.

A judge in London announced on Thursday that he had dismissed the challenge – ruling that the 2013 regulations “do not involve discrimination” in so far as they “do not include any element” which “corresponds to the additional disability premiums payable under the previous regime”.

But Mr Justice Lewis declared that the “implementing arrangements do at present give rise to unlawful discrimination”, and that the two men were entitled to a declaration to that effect.

During a hearing in May, the judge was told by the men’s lawyers that they have been left unable to meet many of their basic needs.

Money stock
Two severely disabled men have lost around £178 per month after having to move to the Universal Credit system, the judge heard (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

She said that both men, who live alone without a carer, “are no longer able to meet many of their basic needs”.

They had lost around £178 per month after having to move to the Universal Credit system – which replaced a range of means-tested welfare benefits with one single benefit.

The two men whose cases are at the centre of the judicial review action against the Work and Pensions Secretary cannot be named for legal reasons and are referred to as TP and AR.

TP is a 52-year-old terminally ill man who worked in the financial sector, while AR is aged 36 and suffers from severe mental health issues.

Their case is said to be the first legal challenge against the Universal Credit scheme.

Law firm Leigh Day, which represents them, welcomed the judge’s decision to grant a declaration and described his judgment as “landmark”.

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