Single working mother issues High Court challenge to UC childcare provisions
Leigh Day reports that Nichola Salvato has issued a claim against the DWP in the High Court arguing that the current universal credit childcare provisions indirectly discriminate against women because they disproportionately affect single parents who are predominantly women. She also argues that the provision which provides that childcare payments can only be recovered if they are paid upfront is irrational because it undermines universal credit’s stated aim of encouraging and supporting parents seeking to move into or advance within the work place.
Permission to appeal has been granted - Leigh Day press release includes -
Granting permission for the case to proceed, the High Court confirmed that the case brought by single parent, Nichola Salvato, was arguable…. Nichola, who is represented by Tessa Gregory and Carolin Ott of law firm Leigh Day, argued that the provision which requires upfront payment of childcare under UC indirectly discriminates against women because it disproportionately affects single parents who are predominantly women.
She also argued that the provision which provides that childcare payments can only be recovered if they are paid upfront is irrational because it undermines Universal Credit’s stated aim of encouraging and supporting parents seeking to move into or advance within the workplace.
In a judgment handed down today, Friday 22 January 2021, it was ruled that the Department of Work and Pensions’ mechanism for assessing and paying the childcare costs element of Universal Credit (the “Proof of Payment” rule), which requires proof of payment from working parents before they receive funding, is unlawful.
I love the way they say 85% compared to 70% in legacy benefits but never add it used to be 80% in tax credits but we cut it!
Also ignores that for people on HB and/or CTR that can actually be up to 95%!
And Will Quince’s Answer also says: “The policy of reimbursing actual childcare costs paid has, as intended, resulted in a significantly lower level of fraud and error than in the legacy system, which was based on projected costs.” No doubt true, but disingenuous. The judgment makes it clear that the particular, discriminatory, scheme adopted was not designed the reduction of fraud and error as the main purpose. The government rejected other schemes which would have reduced fraud and error even more, or which would have been neutral, but without the adverse effects on single working mothers. As the judgment says (para 173 (g)): “Indeed, it is not obvious why a system of awards based on liability to pay (evidenced by an invoice) would be any more likely to result in error or fraud than a system based on actual payment (evidenced by a receipt). In both cases, the claimant has incurred a contractual liability to pay. In both cases, the amount of that liability is fixed. The only difference is that, in the former case, the liability has not been discharged.”
Court of Appeal 2.5 day hearing has started today of government’s appeal against Nichola Salvato’s case where High Court found that the childcare proof of payment rule was both discriminatory and irrational
The hearing is also being live streamed.
Court of Appeal judgment out - SSWP appeal allowed :(
While proof of payment rule does indirectly discriminate, it is justifiable and not irrational.
Well actually they don’t but probably best not posted in the public domain.
Leigh Day Solicitors reports that Ms Salvato has decided to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court -