Cap on Access to Work awards held to be lawful


Re: R (Buxton) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2018] EWHC 2196 (Admin)

The High Court has dismissed a judicial review of the Government’s cap on the amount that can be paid under its Access to Work scheme. The scheme is designed to increase employment opportunities for disabled people by contributing to the additional costs disabled people may be forced to incur in order to do their job, such as paying for special equipment, adaptations or support worker services.

The challenge was brought by Mr David Buxton, CEO of Action for Disability, who claimed that the cap was indirectly discriminatory against deaf people, who were put at a particular disadvantage by the cap because of their need for British Sign Language interpretation in the workplace, which can be expensive. He also argued that the Government had failed to comply with her public sector equality duty.

Mr Justice Kerr however held that the aims of the cap were legitimate aims of social policy, such as to bring more disabled people into the workplace, the cap was rationally connected to those aims and that the cap, set at twice annual average earnings, was proportionate. He also considered it to be unarguable that the relevant equality analysis failed to comply with the public sector equality duty.

Sarah Hannett, Zoë Leventhal and Paul Skinner were involved in the case.