Sin­gle mums are be­ing hit hard­est by ben­e­fits limit

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - News - By NICK LAVIGUEUR and AN­NIE GOUK @Ex­am­iner

NEARLY ev­ery­one in Kirklees who has lost money be­cause of the Gov­ern­ment’s ben­e­fit cap is a sin­gle mother, new anal­y­sis has re­vealed.

A re­cent re­port from the Labour Party re­vealed that na­tion­ally, sin­gle fe­males with at least one de­pen­dent child make more than 85 per cent of all in­di­vid­u­als who have had their ben­e­fits capped.

But anal­y­sis of De­part­ment for Work and Pen­sions data by the Ex­am­iner has shown that the sit­u­a­tion in our area is even worse.

The fig­ures re­veal that as of Au­gust 2018, 652 sin­gle adult house­holds have had their ben­e­fits slashed due to the cap. Sin­gle moth­ers ac­count for 597 of these – or 92 per­cent of the to­tal. In Calderdale the pro­por­tion is even higher at 94 per­cent.

A fur­ther 347 cou­ples in Kirklees have had their ben­e­fits capped, as have 13 house­holds where the re­la­tion­ship sta­tus and sex of the claimant is un­known, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of house­holds af­fected to 1,012.

Dr Mary-Ann Stephen­son, di­rec­tor of UK Women’s Bud­get Group, said the fig­ures came as no sur­prise.

She said: “The Gov­ern­ment was warned when it first in­tro­duced the ben­e­fit cap that it would hit women with de­pen­dent chil­dren hard­est, but they con­tin­ued.

“So­cial se­cu­rity should be based on need, not an ar­bi­trary limit in­tro­duced to make the Gov­ern­ment look tough, with lit­tle re­gard to the im­pact on the lives of those pushed fur­ther into poverty.”

The ben­e­fit cap was first in­tro­duced in 2013, and was put in place to limit the amount of ben­e­fits a house­hold can re­ceive.

As of Novem­ber 2016, the cap was set at £20,000 a year (£384.62 a week) for cou­ples and sin­gle par­ents out­side Greater Lon­don.

The cap drops to £13,400 a year (£257.69 a week) for sin­gle peo­ple with­out chil­dren liv­ing with them. Most ben­e­fits are in­cluded un­der the cap, in­clud­ing Uni­ver­sal Credit, Job- seek­ers’ Al­lowance, In­come Sup­port, Child Ben­e­fit and Child Tax Credit.

Con­tro­ver­sially it also in­cludes Hous­ing Ben­e­fit, de­spite it be­ing paid straight to land­lords – and this is the ben­e­fit that is ac­tu­ally be­ing cut.

This means house­holds see­ing their ben­e­fits slashed by the cap will be pay­ing more rent out of their own pock­ets, mak­ing hous­ing po­ten­tially un­af­ford­able to many of the poor­est peo­ple in the coun­try.

Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd this week an­nounced that con­tro­ver­sial plans to ret­ro­spec­tively ex­tend the two-child ben­e­fit cap to new Uni­ver­sal Credit claimants are to be scrapped.

Work and Pen­sions Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd

Sin­gle mums bear brunt of cap

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