15/04/2013

Benefits Cap Begins In London

A government-imposed cap on benefit payments is to be rolled out in four London boroughs from today.

Between July and September of this year, the cap will be imposed across England, Scotland and Wales.

The changes will see couples and single parents in Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley receiving no more than £500 a week, while a £350 limit applies to single people.

Jobseeker's allowance, income support, child and housing benefit count towards it, but not disability benefits. The move comes in a bid to to cut spending and the amount is said to reflect the average working household income.

In 2009-10, the Department for Work and Pensions says around £90bn was paid out in benefit payments to people of working age and their families. It hopes the cap will save about £110m a year.

Jobseeker's allowance, income support, child benefit and housing benefit are on a long list of payments which count towards the calculation of the cap, which will result in an average cut of £93 for the 40,000 London households initially affected.

People on disability benefits will be exempt from the cap. In addition, to encourage people to seek work, ministers have decided that people with a job who receive Working Tax Credit will also not be affected.

Ministers claim that the threat of the introduction of the cap has already found 8,000 claimants who would have lost out to find jobs.

The cap is not yet law in Northern Ireland.

(JP/CD)

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