New benefit cap will have 'widespread and severe impact' - new research
A new cap on overall benefits will have a widespread and severe impact on more than 116,000 families across Great Britain – the Chartered Institute of Housing has warned.
The lower overall benefit cap comes into effect from November 7 and limits the total amount of benefits a household can receive from £26,000 to £23,000 and £20,000 outside of London.
CIH has conducted new research which shows the cap will hit 116,000 families across the social rented and private rented sectors, the vast majority of which are two and three-children families, by up to £115 a week. More than 300,000 children live in these households.
CIH chief executive, Terrie Alafat CBE, said the new cap could put many families at serious risk of losing their homes and render housing in significant parts of the country unaffordable for those affected.
She said: “The results of our research are extremely worrying. It shows that the reduction in total benefits is going to hit some of the most vulnerable families of all sizes across England, Scotland and Wales.
“These families will lose out when the cap comes into effect from 7 November and in many cases will straight away face a substantial gap between their rent and the help they receive to pay for their housing.
“Worryingly, our analysis shows many families could be one redundancy or a period of ill health away from being in this situation.
“We are seriously concerned that 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.
“This is a measure which seriously risks undermining the government’s commitment to make society fairer for families in Great Britain and we suggest that they look at this urgently.”
The research shows that in London even though the cap is set at £3k higher than elsewhere in the country, this is still not enough to fully compensate for the higher cost of housing. As a result some 18,000 families will be affected in the capital, while 17,500 will be hit in the South East.
Away from London and the South East the North West will be worst hit with 13,000 families affected. Meanwhile 12,000 will be affected in the West Midlands and the East of England.
The research shows in Scotland 6,700 will be affected and in Wales nearly 6,000 will.
How the benefit cap could affect different families across the country: