“Poor families” will be excluded from large parts of England due to benefit caps

  • A study has found that plans to cut the benefit cap will make many areas of south east, south west and some northern cities unaffordable for families. padlock.jpg

    Research has found that families who are unemployed will not be able to afford to live in large areas of the country due to the benefit which threatens at least 100,000 households with poverty and homelessness, reports the Guardian.

    Data from housing charity Shelter has found that plans to reduce the cap to £20,000 (£385 a week), or £23,000 (£442) in London, would mean that large parts of the south-east and south-west, and some northern cities, would be unaffordable for many more families when it is introduced next April.

    Separate research by Citizen’s Advice predicts that of the estimated 90,000 new households expected to be immediately affected by the lower cap, at least 35,000 will be affected indefinitely. With larger families facing shortfalls of £100-£200 a week, many will face food poverty, rent arrears and eviction.

    Roger Harding, Shelter’s director of communications, policy and campaigns, said: “The benefit cap isn’t just impacting on very expensive postcodes anymore, we’re talking about places like Portsmouth and Basingstoke being off-limits to small, struggling families who need some support.”

    A DWP spokesperson said: “The benefit cap provides a clear incentive for people to move into work and ensures we have a welfare system that is fair for those who need it and those who pay for it.”

    Alison Garnham, the chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said the government had set the cap at an arbitrary level that penalised families who passed its own needs tests for benefits. “It’s tantamount to a tax on the poorest of the poor. And the upshot will be more families with too little money for absolute basics for children, like food and warmth.”

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