A MOTHER of two has launched a High Court battle against the Government over Universal Credit after she was left with less than £9 a month.

Charmaine Parkin, 34, from Hove, said she was forced to use food banks to feed her children.

She alleges the the six-in-one benefit system discriminates against self-employed people.

When the actress, producer and director split from her partner in October 2017, she tried to claim Universal Credit.

But a measure called the Minimum Income Floor (MIF), which aims to ensure people who are self-employed cannot get more benefits than if they were on minimum wage, would have left her with just £8.98 if she paid her rent.

Ms Parkin’s lawyers say she would have been £393 a month better off if she had quit her career and claimed the equivalent of jobseekers’ allowance.

She said: “Working in the theatre has always been my passion and it is what I am trained to do but the nature of the work means that my earnings can vary a lot from month to month.

“It has made me feel like I have to choose between being a good mother and pursuing my chosen career path because it is no longer possible to support my family by continuing the type of self-employed work that I need to do as a theatre practitioner.”

Her lawyers, Leigh Day, claim MIF is “unjustified discrimination” and are applying for a judicial review to get it changed.

Ms Parkin added: “I thought the Universal Credit system would help with this and allow me to top up my income in the months where my earnings were lower, especially after I moved to a new town.

“I thought Universal Credit could give me financial stability, help me to budget and settle in. I was very wrong.

“The Universal Credit system has left me worse off than if I was unemployed, has caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety and has left me seriously considering giving up my work in the theatre.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘We are unable to comment on an ongoing legal case.

“Universal Creit strikes the balance between supporting entrepreneurship and being fair to the taxpayer by helping self-employed people during the first year while they establish their business.”