The Department for Work and Pensions has released the latest experimental statistics on how many households have had their benefits capped between April 2013 and May 2020.
The cap limits a household’s total annual benefits, including housing costs, to £20,000 a year or £23,000 in London.
As of May 2020, 150,000 households had their benefits capped, a 93% increase from the previous quarter making it the biggest increase in households capped since 2013.
While 84,000 households had their benefits capped for the first time this quarter, a 500% increase from the last quarter when 14,000 households were capped for the first time.
Responding to the statistics Jon Sparkes, Crisis chief executive, said: ‘With each passing day comes new job losses as the impact of the pandemic is felt.
‘These figures show thousands of people are turning to the benefits system to break their fall, only to discover that the benefit cap is cutting them off from vital support.
‘Despite ongoing assurances that the benefit cap grace period would protect people newly claiming, we know that people on low incomes aren’t getting this support, which is leaving many worrying about how they are going to pay their rent or put food on the table for their children.
‘If we are to avoid a wave of people from losing their homes through no fault of their own, it’s vital that the government immediately suspends the benefit cap so that people have the means to stay afloat. Otherwise, we risk all the good work to protect people being undone.’
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘The benefit cap, up to the equivalent salary of £28,000 in London, ensures fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and a strong work incentive, whilst providing a much-needed safety net of support.
‘We remain committed to helping the most vulnerable in society, which is why we currently spend more than £95 billion a year on the benefits system, supporting more than seven million people.’
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