Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Lengthy legal battle deprives Merseyside’s poorest children of £1 million


06 November 2017
Food bank

Birkenhead’s MP Frank Field today publishes new research showing how £1 million is being snatched from some of the poorest children in the Liverpool City Region.

In June, the High Court ruled that the Government was acting unlawfully by imposing the Benefit Cap on single parents with children under the age of two. The High Court decided that under the Government’s current funding arrangements, those parents cannot reasonably be expected to find suitable childcare which would enable them to work. 

However, the Government’s appeal against the decision will not be heard until next June – a year after the High Court delivered its verdict. The Benefit Cap will continue to apply in its current form until then. 

Frank’s research shows that in this twelve-month period between the initial verdict and the appeal, 400 families in the Liverpool City Region will lose out on a combined total of £1,029,680 – an average cash loss of £49 per family per week – which the High Court ruled they should receive. 

The Liverpool City Region Child Poverty and Life Chances Commission, which Frank chairs, has written to the Lord Chief Justice asking him urgently to bring forward the date of the Government’s appeal, to cut short the period in which families have to go without money.

Commenting on the research, Frank says: ‘The Government is inflicting yet another year of misery upon some of Merseyside’s poorest families. In the eyes of the law those families should never even have been penalised by the Benefit Cap in the first place. So this additional year in which families must somehow find an additional £50 a week really is rubbing salt into the wound. It amounts to a programme of state-sponsored destitution.

‘Justice demands that the Government should pay the money to which the courts have ruled families are entitled, at least until the appeal is heard.’

The data covering each local authority is as follows:

Halton

23 families affected
Smallest cash loss - £2.99 per week
Largest cash loss - £126.50 per week
Average cash loss - £55.01 per week
Total loss to all families over the twelve-month period = £65,791.96

Knowsley

78 families affected
Smallest cash loss - £0.01 per week
Largest cash loss - £149.50 per week
Average cash loss - £51.73 per week
Total loss to all families over the twelve-month period - £209,816.88

Liverpool

138 families affected
Smallest cash loss - £1.26 per week
Largest cash loss - £149.50 per week
Average cash loss - £50.05 per week
Total loss to all families over the twelve-month period - £359,158.80

St Helens

48 families affected
Smallest cash loss - £1.30 per week
Largest cash loss - £106.53 per week
Average cash loss - £41.84 per week
Total loss to all families over the twelve-month period - £104,432.64

Sefton

35 families affected
Smallest cash loss - £0.58 per week
Largest cash loss - £109.01 per week
Average cash loss - £43.05 per week
Total loss to all families over the twelve-month period - £78,351

Wirral

78 families affected
Smallest cash loss - £1.21 per week
Largest cash loss - £140.12 per week
Average cash loss - £52.30 per week
Total loss to all families over the twelve-month period - £212,128.80




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