Homeless charity Shelter is urging the Government to scrap the benefits cap for at least the duration of the pandemic after new DWP statistics revealed that more than 150,000 households have been hit by it – a 93% rise post-Covid. 

Of those households capped, 43% saw their benefits docked by £50 or more per week and 17% lost £100 or more per week.

Last week, ministers refused to budge on the issue, despite warnings from the Social Security Advisory Committee that people living in areas with high rental costs were losing out due to a lack of flexibility in the system.

Since it was introduced in 2013, the cap has limited how much any one household can receive in total benefits, including Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Child Benefit.

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Families with children and couples in London can receive a maximum of £1,916.17 a month while those living outside the capital can claim up to £1,666.67.

Homelessness

Critics like Shelter say it has contributed to rising homelessness and family debt. Explains chief executive Polly Neate: “It’s undermining the Government’s efforts to shore up our welfare safety net.

“Many embattled parents who were already struggling with low pay and have lost their job or had their hours cut because of Covid-19 are finding themselves capped – losing vital support at the worst possible time.”

The Government has already taken some steps to help tenants and benefit claimants; in March, the 500,000-strong surge in the number of Universal Credit applications persuaded it to raise its Local Housing Allowance rates by up to 20% in some areas.

And in June, it agreed to come up with a new way of paying up to 85,000 Universal Credit claimants, after the Court of Appeal ruled that the DWP’s failure to cater for ‘non-banking day salary shift’ was unlawful.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why doesn’t anyone ever mention the embattled landlord who has to explain to tenants that we still have mortgages, insurances, repairs, compliance issues, (gas certs etc) to pay from the rent. We are the ones in many instancess providing a home for low income families and although I know I work with my tenants and have in some instances, reduced the rent, no one is helping me. I curently live next door to one of my tenants in a shared house. He refuses to pay the rent, steals food from the other existing tenant, is often high on drugs, has stolen money, assaulted a nurse and stolen her credit card and has damaged items in the house. He also set fire to the decking. I have to repair these things. In spite of police and antisocial agents from the council being involved, everyone including the tenant knows that I can’t evict him. I live in fear of his intimidation and victims of crime have provided me with various things to help. He throws his cigarette ends, pizza boxes and sweet wrappers over into my garden and laughs at me calling out things like ‘good morning old lady’ I’m a 71 year old pensioner and should not be living in fear of him or his drug dealer friends using my property. Some provision should have been made to help the landlord in instances like these. As it stands, I now can’t rent out the other rooms because of his drug taking, and its costing me approx £2000 per month. I also have to provide all the things that were in situ when the room was advertised (internet, cleaner, gardener etc) There are many more stories from other landlords that I could relay. Boris needs to be mindful of the very good landlords who provide a large swathe of accommodation. its no good protecting the tenants, its the good landlords who need recognition of what they are doing, and very urgent help when things go wrong.

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