Trapped by the cap: An analysis of work conditionality and the benefit cap
Data we obtained via a freedom of information request reveals that a third (34 per cent) of people subject to the benefit cap, which the government claims is a work incentive, are not expected to seek employment because their circumstances prevent them from working. Rather than being a work incentive, it is pushing children deeper into poverty.
Of the 111,000 households on universal credit (UC) who are subject to the benefit cap, fewer than half are required to actively seek work by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Of the remaining 59,000 (53 per cent) capped households:
- 38,000 (34 per cent) are not expected by the DWP to search for work because they are the primary carer of a child aged under three.
- 21,000 (18 per cent) are already in work, but do not earn enough to reach the threshold for the cap to be lifted.