Gerard Stilliard, head of personal injury strategy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “This gratuitous move has come from a government that doesn’t really care for hardworking people injured through no fault of their own and fighting to keep their head above the water in an economy rocked by the pandemic.

“Increasing the small claims limit fits a pattern of arrogance, whether the 1% pay rise for the NHS, the refusal to offer furlough to some of the most vulnerable workers, or the splashing of tax payers money on contracts for mates. Here the only beneficiaries will be insurers who will have an open playing field to offer what they want and drag out cases for as long as they wish.

“£1,500 is a significant sum to those who have kept us going through the pandemic. From April 2022 many of the lowest paid will no longer be able to draw on the support of independent legal advice and will face taking on the financial and administrative burden of making a claim alone in a poorly resourced county court with overwhelmed judges, against the unlimited might of the insurance industry. Many will not proceed, as they simply won’t have the time or means to access the justice they deserve.

“The move makes a mockery of the notion that the Conservatives are the party committed to a United Kingdom when they have in one fell stroke emphasised further legal distinctions between England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They have chosen to sacrifice workers rights in the Union to deliver yet more profit to their friends in the insurance industry, and send a message to bad employers with poor health and safety records: the government is on your side.”