Ministers claimed the cruel £20,000-a-year limit would stop families sitting on jobless handouts. Turns out hardly any of them are.
Barely one in six families hit by the Tory benefit cap are actually on the dole, the government has admitted.
Ministers claimed the cruel £20,000-a-year limit would stop jobless families sitting on handouts when they could be at work.
Yet new figures show only 17% of people living under the cap are claiming jobseekers’ allowance. Instead most are sick or disabled (15% of cases) or single parents with kids under five (54%) – leaving them with little or no option to seek work.
Shadow Work and Pensions minister Margaret Greenwood said the figure was “shocking”, adding: “Yet again we see the Tories hitting those who need support the hardest. They are cutting the incomes of thousands of struggling families who they know are unable to work.”
Imran Hussain of the Child Poverty Action Group said: “The benefit cap is a cruel policy that’s been mis-sold to the public.
Pioneered by welfare-slashing ex-Chancellor George Osborne, the cap limited total benefits to £26,000 per year. It was then cut in November 2016 to £20,000 (£23,000 in London), quadrupling the number of families affected and doubling the number of emergency payouts.
The number of families hit by the cap has now soared to 68,000, 52,000 of which were hit since the lower rate launched. Many live in areas with soaring rent and half are having to find £50 or more a week.
A quarter are being hit by the cap unlawfully because they have are single parents with child under the age of two. The High Court said the cap illegally discriminates against these parents in June, but the government is appealing the case.