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500% increase in new households hit by the benefit Cap – Crisis Response

Today, the Department for Work and Pensions has released the latest experimental statistics on how many households have had their benefits capped between April 2013 and May 2020.  The key findings from the release are: 

  • As of May 2020 150,000 households had their benefits capped, this is a 93% increase from the previous quarter.
  • This is the biggest increase in households capped since 2013.
  • 84,000 households had their benefits capped for the first time this quarter, this is a 500% increase from the last quarter (14,000 households capped for the first time)
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has be a significant increase in the demand for Housing Benefit. The Housing Benefit rate was also increased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes in the entitlement of Housing Benefit alongside no change in the benefit cap levels has impacted on the number of households capped under Housing Benefit and the amount they have their benefits capped by.
  • On average households are capped by £57 per week.

Responding to the statistics Jon Sparkes, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “With each passing day comes new job losses as the impact of the pandemic is felt. These figures show thousands of people are turning to the benefits system to break their fall, only to discover that the benefit cap is cutting them off from vital support. 

“Despite ongoing assurances that the benefit cap grace period would protect people newly claiming, we know that people on low incomes aren’t getting this support, which is leaving many worrying about how they are going to pay their rent or put food on the table for their children.

“If we are to avoid a wave of people from losing their homes through no fault of their own, it’s vital that the government immediately suspends the benefit cap so that people have the means to stay afloat. Otherwise we risk all the good work to protect people being undone.”