Benefit ceiling hits hundreds of more single-parent families in Bedford Bedford News

Hundreds of other single-parent families in Bedford have seen their benefits capped since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures show.

With a record number of families affected across Britain, the government is facing calls to drop the cap from charities who say the policy is “unfair punishment” for poorer households.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show 376 single-parent families saw their benefits capped in Bedford in February.

376 single-parent families saw their benefits capped in Bedford in February

This was more than double the number capped at the same time last year, when 171 saw their housing allowance or universal credit payment cut.

A total of 565 people saw their benefits capped in February this year, 347 more than a year earlier, 67 percent of them from single-parent families.

Across Britain, 200,000 households saw their benefits capped in February, more than double the 77,700 affected during the same period last year.

This included 166,200 households with children and 117,200 with lone parents.

The benefit ceiling limits the total income a household can receive from certain benefits, and is currently £ 20,000 per year for families with children outside London and £ 23,000 for those in the capital.

The limits are lower for single adults and single parents whose children do not live with them.

The money is withdrawn by reducing either their housing allowances or their Universal Credit payments – although there is an initial nine-month grace period during which allowances will not be capped.

The DWP said the record number in February was due to an increase in the number of applicants for universal credit due to job losses linked to the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, which wants the cap abolished, affected households are losing an average of £ 62 per week.

The charity said families were struggling to escape the cap due to a continued lack of jobs and unaffordable child care services.

Chief Executive Officer Alison Garnham said: “The benefit cap has always been an unfair punishment for families.”

And she added: “Thousands of additional households that have lost their jobs due to Covid-19 are now subject to the cap even though during the pandemic it is much more difficult to find ways to replace their lost income and d ‘be exempt.

“Especially in high rent areas, capped families lose significant amounts of social assistance and it is disastrous for the children affected.”

Meanwhile, the homeless charity Shelter said a government failure to revise the cap had plunged many families into poverty and put them at risk of becoming homeless.

Chief Executive Officer Polly Neate said: “The cap means that people whose incomes have been wiped out by the pandemic cannot access sufficient financial support to cover their basic costs, like rent or food for their families. “

In Bedford, among households whose benefits were capped in February, the largest proportion – 190 families – had as much as £ 100 withdrawn from the weekly amount they were receiving, while around 220 had more than £ 200 withdrawn .

The DWP said a review of the benefit ceiling would be carried out “at the appropriate time.”

A spokesperson said: “The benefit cap guarantees fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and a strong incentive to work, while providing a much-needed supportive safety net.”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-29 10:54:28

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