New statistics released today show that 120,000 households were subject to the benefit cap in February 2022. The benefit cap limits the amount of social security some households receive, with families losing £236 a month, on average.
In April 2022, capped families in London saw the real value of their benefits fall by £2,070 as inflation hit 9 per cent – a 40-year high – and their benefits didn’t increase at all. The ceiling created by the benefit cap hasn’t increased since it was introduced in 2013. In fact it was lowered to its current level in 2016.
Almost all capped families are in deep poverty, with many at risk of homelessness and falling into debt to pay for essentials even before the recent price increases. The cost of living payments announced by the chancellor will provide some support to capped households this year, but they don’t account for the additional needs of families with children. Without removing the benefit cap, 150,000 households will lose out when benefits keep pace with prices next April.
Even before the recent price increases, the benefit cap made it harder for families to make ends meet, pushing families deeper into poverty and often forcing them to take on debt to cover the essentials. The government should remove the benefit cap to provide immediate support to struggling families and prevent them falling even further behind as prices soar.