Judge rejects youth benefits bias claim

The Court of Appeal has rejected claims that young people are being
forced below the poverty line because social security rules
discriminate against unemployed under-25s.

Lawyers had claimed that social security rules that resulted in
18-24 year olds receiving less jobseekers allowance than those over
25 violated young people’s human rights.

A young mother who lost her job in October 1999 when she was 24 and
was told she would be entitled to only £41.25 a week was the
subject of the test case. If she had been 25, she would have
received £52.20. Her lawyers argued that the shortfall was a
“huge loss” and the difference between subsistence level and
falling below the poverty line.

But the judge said the secretary of state for work and pensions had
shown “a perfectly reasonable justification” for the differential
payment and that it was not for the courts to analyse in detail the
government’s motives for keeping the threshold.

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