New benefits cap will come into force this autumn following Tory reforms
DWP secretary warns unemployed must make finding work a priority
22,000 people have stopped claiming since cap was introduced in 2013
The new cap was announced by George Osborne in his Budget last year
Parents of families who rely on benefit handouts are being warned they must find work as their claiming limit will be slashed this autumn.
At the moment, families can receive up to £26,000 a year in benefits but that total is set to be cut to £23,000 in London and £20,000 in the rest of the country under new Conservative reforms.
And last night the Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb warned that people need to do everything they can to find work.
He said: ‘We are going further to ensure the amount that out-of-work people can claim better reflects the circumstances of many hard-working families.
‘With the new cap coming into force in the autumn, now is the time for people to take action’.
The department yesterday published new figures on benefits claimants showing that the number of people claiming has dropped.
22,000 people have stopped claiming benefits since the £26,000 cap was introduced in summer 2013.
A further 11,500 are not claiming as much as they did.
George Osborne announced the new cap in his Autumn Statement, following through on promises the Tories made to cut the welfare bill in their election manifesto last year.
At the time, he said: ‘It is not fair that people out of work can earn more than people in work so we are going to cut the benefit cap, as we said in our manifesto, to £23,000 in London – it will be lower in the rest of the country.
‘We have got to have a welfare system that is fair to those who need it but also fair to those who pay for it.’
Treasury figures show the saving resulting from the benefit cap is far from insignificant. The existing cap is saving £185million a year and the new one will save an additional half a billion a year by 2020.