Equity supports High Court Universal Credit challenge

***UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2019: The High Court has ruled on the case and found in favour of the government. Full report here: 
UC test case result

***UPDATE APRIL 2019: Permission has now been granted for the Judicial Review to proceed to a hearing this summer.  For more information see https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2019/March-2019/Permission-granted-for-judicial-review-of-universa***

Equity is supporting Equity member Charmaine Parkin in a challenge to the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit. Universal Credit is the government’s flagship benefit policy and it is replacing a range of means-tested benefits including jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, tax credits and employment support allowance. If the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deem someone to be ‘gainfully self-employed’ they assume a monthly income from the claimant’s self-employment based on the national minimum wage irrespective of their actual earnings. This assumed income is known as the Minimum Income Floor (MIF).

The effect of this is to penalise particularly those with variable and irregular earnings, such as entertainers, creating hardship and removing the welfare safety net which was available under the old system. In many cases, it also leaves the self-employed far worse off than would be the case for the employed with comparable income.

We have been lobbying for years along with other unions and organisations to have the MIF abolished and we are therefore very pleased to be able to support our member and work with Leigh Day solicitors in launching a challenge in the High Court to this misguided and punitive policy. At the time of writing, Leigh Day are preparing to issue Judicial Review proceedings to challenge the MIF as being both disproportionate and irrational.

Please see the links below for more information on this story – there has already been extensive press coverage and more is to follow over the coming weeks.

We urge Equity members to support this hugely important challenge and to let us know if you have been affected by the Minimum Income Floor by contacting helpline@equity.org.uk

Leigh Day website

Coverage in the Mirror

Coverage in the Daily Mail

Coverage on ITV News