Benefit cap ‘hits family’

12 May 2017

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AT LEAST 197,000 children in the UK have been hit by the lower benefits cap since it was introduced by the Government last year (News, 11 November), the Children’s Society has warned.

Official figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions last Friday indicate that 134,000 households had their benefits reduced between 15 April 2013, when the cap was first introduced, and February 2017. More than a third of these households (50,000) were recorded in the last quarter, after the cap was lowered in November from £26,000, nationally, to £23,000 in London, and £20,000 elsewhere in the UK.

Analysis of the data by the Children’s Society suggests that 93 per cent of all capped households are home to children, meaning that 420,000 children have been affected since 2013. The figures were “deeply worrying”, the chief executive of the charity, Matthew Reed, said.

“Our concern is that this will only worsen child poverty, which is already set to balloon to five million by the end of the decade. While we think it’s right that work pays, it is children who are bearing the brunt of the cap.”

Of all households capped in February, 18 per cent would have been affected regardless of whether the new limits had been implemented in November, the data suggests. It also indicates that 70 per cent of families capped by up to £50 per week were single-parent, and that 91 per cent were also claiming child tax credits. Cornwall, Wales, and the northern isles of Scotland were among the regions worst affected by the lower limits.

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