Families face losses of up to £6,000, according to IFS
The new benefit cap being rolled out today will affect four times as many households as the previous cap, according to the IFS, with some families set to lose up to £6,000 annually.
For most adults, the cap is being lowered to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere.
The government predicts an average loss of £2,000 for those capped and, as the IFS analysis points out, ‘the lowering of the cap will result in affected families seeing cash drops in benefit income between one housing benefit payment and the next.’
This means that from one month to the next, families will see a dramatic cut in income, and it is unclear how they will absorb or adapt to that shortfall.
Worryingly, half of those affected by the new cap are single parents of children under five, who are facing an average shortfall of £60 a week in rent.
Rehena Azam of GMB has slammed the policy, commenting:
“This has echoes of the staggering hypocrisy and chilling callousness that saw the victimisation of single mothers in the bad old days of the early 1990s.
Theresa May once said she would change the ‘nasty party’ but the mask has slipped again.
“With the uncertainty of Brexit, there could be fewer well paid, secure jobs to go round – not to mention problems of access to nurseries with closures and cuts to public services.
All the while food prices are going up – and the evidence shows that single parents were already skipping meals to provide for their children, even before this latest attack.”
This echoes analysis published last week by the single parents support organisation, Gingerbread, which warned that children are facing losing their homes or being pushed into poverty as a result of the cap.
The IFS also highlights that, despite the hardship being imposed by the cap, there is little evidence that it will have the desired effect of pushing adults back into work.
‘The majority of those affected will not respond by moving into work, moving house or claiming a disability benefit,’ it states. ‘For that majority it is an open question how they will adjust to the loss of income.’
The researchers also quietly highlights that the Conservatives’ benefits policy is extraordinarily lacking in justification, suggesting that ‘it would be sensible for the government to set out a clear vision of which families it thinks receive excessive amounts of benefits and why.’Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.