Official statistics have found that almost half of households affected by the benefits cap are single parents with children under the age of five.
Government statistics detailing who has been affected by the policy have found that in May 2015 49% were single parents with children under the age of five, reports the Guardian.
It is being said that these figures reveal the benefits cap to be penalising parents who would find it most difficult to find suitable work, and critics are calling for single parents with children under the age of five to be exempt from the policy.
The DWP’s own analysis found that those parents who had found a job after being hit by the benefits cap were more likely to have children aged four or over, suggesting that caring for young children is a serious impediment to employment.
The chief executive of Gingerbread, Fiona Weir, said: “The cap is billed as a policy that incentivises parents to find work. However, we know that single parents are already highly motivated to work and that for those with very young children it is low pay, the high cost of childcare and lack of the right part-time jobs that make it particularly difficult for them to work. This is a policy that will push more children into poverty. We’re calling on the government to exempt single parents caring for a child aged under five from the cap.”
A spokesman for the DWP said: “The benefit cap provides a clear incentive to move into work – lone parents who work just 16 hours a week are exempt and we have increased the child care support available. We have provided local authorities with around £500m to support those families who might need extra help.”
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