The High Court, one of Britain's senior law courts, has ruled that changes to a type of welfare payment brought about earlier this year are "blatantly discriminatory" against people with mental health problems and "cannot be objectively justified".

The verdict has been welcomed by mental health and pan-disability campaigners.

In February, the government limited the amount of support that people who struggle to make journeys because of psychological distress could get through personal independence payment (PIP).

The government said at the time that people with mental health needs had fewer support requirements than other disabled people who struggle to make journeys. 

If the Government accepts this ruling and does not take it to the Court of Appeal, then more than 160,000 people with mental health problems will be entitled to additional support from PIP.

Response

The charity Mind intervened in the case alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

“This ruling is a significant victory for people with mental health problems," said Paul Farmer, Mind's Chief Executive.

"It acknowledges that the regulations discriminated against people with mental health problems and upholds the principle that PIP should look at the impact your condition has on your life, not what kind of condition you have."

“The judgment is clear that the government has no evidence for its claim that people who experience psychological distress need less support than other disabled people."

Pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire praised judges for recognising the "injustice" of the system.

"Around two thirds of PIP decisions that are appealed get overturned but many people don’t even get to this point," said Chief Executive Neil Heslop.

"For disabled people with mental health conditions, appealing can just seem too lengthy, intimidating and stressful a prospect."

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