Esther McVey: Her department is as irrational as she appears to be in this image.

Ms McVey should be thanking her stars that the ruling applies to ‘kinship’ carers and has nothing to do with the so-called ‘rape clause’ that restricts child benefits to the first two children – unless a further child is the result of a sex crime.

This case makes the irrationality of the Department for Work and Pensions clear, though; there is no good reason to provide benefits for more than two children only if it is the third child receiving ‘kinship’ care.

But a legal hearing in the High Court had to take place in order to demonstrate this to the DWP.

It shows that the restrictions placed on benefit claimants are bizarre and arbitrary. There is no good reason for them.

That goes for the ‘rape clause’ too. It should be scrapped – along with Ms McVey’s tenure as Work and Pensions Secretary and, to be honest, the rest of the DWP.

The government’s policy of denying financial support to carers who fall foul of the two-child limit on benefit entitlements is perverse and unlawful, a high court judge has ruled.

Growing numbers of young carers who voluntarily agree to look after younger relatives, in order to prevent them being taken into care, have been denied thousands of pounds in benefit support when they decide to have a child of their own.

Although ministers had promised that kinship carers would not be hit by the two-child limit, in practice the exemption was only available to carers who had children first and then become guardian to a third child, not the other way around.

Mr Justice Ouseley said this defeated the purpose of the exemption, which was “to encourage, or at least avoid discouraging, a family from looking after a child who would otherwise be in local authority care”.

Making the exemption available only if the cared-for child was not the first or second child was, he said, “not rationally connected with the purposes of the legislation, and indeed it is in conflict with them”.

Source: High court rules in favour of carers over two-child benefits cap | Society | The Guardian


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