On 21 January the ConDem Government pushed through a mean spirited 1% cap on working-age benefit rises. The Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill was passed through the House of Commons by 305 votes to 246. The 1% cap will affect a large number of Social Security Benefits currently being received. These include:
- Employment Support Allowance,
- Income support,
- Jobseeker’s Allowance,
- Some elements of Housing Benefit,
- Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay
- Child Tax Credits.
Disability benefits and Carer’s Allowance will continue to increase in line with inflation. This move is simply playing politics and designed to wrong foot the Labour Party. I am proud that Labour stood up to this and voted against the cut. The majority of people affected are in low paying jobs – these benefits help them to maintain a quality of life which the ConDem Government is now attacking.
The 1% cap is being imposed alongside other caps in Social Security Benefits which will come into effect in April this year. An assessment published by the Government suggests that as a result of this cap 114,000 families will see their benefits reduced. 20% of these will see their benefits reduced by more than £150 a week (£7,800 a year) with the average reduction being £93 per week (£4,836 per year).
With families already struggling this is another kick in the teeth from an uncaring and out of touch Government.
The ConDem Government thinks that families will respond by starting work, reducing their non-rent expenditure, making up any shortfall in housing benefit using a proportion of their other income or moving to cheaper accommodation or area.
The full Impact Assessment for the benefits cap can be found here. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/eia-benefit-cap-wr2011.pdf