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Pandemic leads to 115% rise in people being 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 August 2020. The key findings from the release are:

  • As of August 2020, 170,000 households had their benefits capped, this is an 8% increase from the previous quarter.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, the number of households capped has risen from 79,000 in February 2020 to 170,000 in August 2020, this is an increase of 115%
  • 59,000 households had their benefits capped for the first time this quarter.
  • On average households are capped by £57 per week.

Commenting on the statistics Jon Sparkes, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “With the full extent of the economic impact of the pandemic coming to light and the country facing a steep climb to recovery, these figures show just how dire the situation is for people who’ve lost their job and are now battling to pay their rent. 

“Despite assurances that the nine-month grace period would protect people who’ve just lost their jobs from having their benefits capped, we know that for thousands of people this much-needed respite will be coming to an end right before Christmas, leaving many worrying about how they’re going to keep a roof over their head or put food on the table. 

“With the jobs market showing little sign of improvement, we urgently need the government to extend the grace period so that families don’t start the new year with the very real threat of eviction. We also need to see people rough sleeping exempt from the cap so that councils can move people out of expensive emergency accommodation quickly, and into safe and secure homes they can afford.”