More than 300,000 children dragged into benefit cuts, research reveals

Some families will lose more than £100 a week from the lower cap, says the Chartered Institute of Housing – plunging them into poverty and homelessness

More than 300,000 poorer children will be hit by a new benefit cap coming in next week, a new study warns – with some families set to lose more than £100 a week.

The Government is being urged to rethink a dramatic lowering of the controversial household limit on social security payments, or face a devastating surge in poverty and homelessness.

The lower cap – £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside the capital – was announced by George Osborne last year, but will not come into force until next Monday, just weeks before Christmas.

Now research by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has found the numbers who will be affected is significantly higher than the Government expects. Pressing ahead will fly in the face of Theresa May’s promise, in her Conservative conference speech last month, to “make society fairer for families”, it warned.

Terrie Alafat, the CIH chief executive, said: “Our analysis shows many families could be one redundancy or a period of ill health away from being in this situation.

“This could have a severe impact on these families, make housing in large sections of the country unaffordable and risk worsening what is already a growing homelessness problem.”

And Imran Hussain, director of Policy at the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “A lower benefit cap is crueller and more damaging for children.

“The only way to escape the cap is to work a certain a number of hours but, as the Government itself recognises in the rest of the benefits system, this is practically impossible for those with children under school age. They are trapped with nowhere to go.

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