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  1. ITV Report

Sussex mother takes Universal Credit fight to High Court

Charmaine Parkin, a mother-of-two and theatre worker from Hove Photo: ITV

A mother of two from Hove has launched a High Court battle against the government over Universal Credit - saying it left her unable to pay the rent or feed her children.

The new benefits system has come under criticism after apparently leaving people without enough money to get by.

Charmaine Parkin, who has taken her fight to court, says it discriminates against the self employed when they use the system to top up low incomes.

Charmaine browsing a Universal Credit web page Credit: ITV

Ms Parkin says she was forced to use food banks when her universal credit claim left her without enough money to feed her children.

The theatre worker and single parent needs universal credit - to top up her income during the months when her income is low.

She described the issues she faced, which included visits to a foodbank this year, as "inhumane".

The Department for Work and Pensions say they are unable to comment on an ongoing legal case.

But that "Universal Credit strikes the balance between supporting entrepreneurship and being fair to the taxpayer."

Universal Credit sanctions web page

Ms Parkin's lawyers are challenging the Government over the Minimum Income Floor system that is currently part of the Universal Credit set-up

They claim the system, which effects the self-employed, is "unjustified discrimination".

Our client would have been better off unemployed than self-employed which just doesn't make sense. As it is right now the minimum income floor is not working, not fit for purpose and it should be scrapped."

– Tessa Gregory, Charmaine Parkin's lawyer

Watch the full story here from our reporter Sarah Saunders.