A case which could make a dramatic difference to millions of legacy benefits claimants by awarding them a £20 a week backdated uplift will not be going ahead in September because, almost unbelievably, there are no judges available to hear it.

A hearing had been listed in the High Court for 28 and 29 September to decide whether the government had broken the law by awarding an additional £20 a week to universal credit claimants during the pandemic but not awarding it to claimants of legacy benefits, such as ESA.

The DWP’s excuse for this discriminatory behaviour was that the software for legacy benefits would not be able to calculate the increase for individual claimants.

However, on Friday the court announced that the case would now be adjourned until an unspecified date because no judge was available to hear it. Given the importance of the case and the huge number of people affected, this seems an extraordinary admission.

But it will come as a considerable relief to the government, which is planning to end the uplift for universal credit claimants at the end of this month, in the face of growing opposition from charities and its own MPs.

It is not known whether the case will now go ahead this year.


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