Child Poverty Action Group mounts legal challenge to welfare reform

The government is facing a legal challenge to its controversial plans to cap housing benefit payments on the grounds that large areas of the south-east will become off limits to the poor, with lone parents and ethnic minorities “disproportionately affected”.

The Child Poverty Action Group, which campaigns against poverty, told the Guardian it has “issued urgent proceedings for judicial review” of two of the changes which aim to force claimants to rely more heavily on their own means.

From April, claimants will no longer be able to claim for homes with more than four bedrooms, irrespective of family size, and there will be maximum limits on housing benefits. The government has said weekly payments cannot exceed £250 for a one bedroom flat, with a maximum £400 for a four bedroom house.

Such changes, say campaigners, will trigger a forced migration of thousands of families – most immediately from central London but thereafter in the rest of the south, as rental prices outstrip the housing subsidy available.

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