The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released the latest experimental statistics on how many households have had their benefits capped between April 2013 and February 2021.
The key findings from the release are:
- 200,000 households had their benefit capped at February 2021, compared to 79,000 at February 2020 – a 153% rise.
- It represents a 13% increase in newly capped households on the last quarter.
- Some people receive a nine-month grace period which protects them from being hit by the cap after losing their job. For people who lost their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic, this quarter’s data reflects the first time that they have been hit by the benefit cap.
- Households had their benefits capped by an average of £55 a week, at February 2021. That works out at £238.15 a month.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, comments on the statistics: “Behind these figures are hundreds of thousands of people battling to keep roofs over their heads. Many will have lost jobs in the pandemic or are living day-to-day on insecure, zero-hour contracts.
“For so many, renting has become unaffordable. Rents continue to rise but Local Housing Allowance is frozen, creating a real-terms cut to housing benefit.
“We desperately need a strategy to provide the genuinely affordable homes needed to end homelessness, as well as more financial support for the hundreds of thousands of renters in arrears, to help them back from the brink.
“The UK government must also make people who are rough sleeping or stuck in temporary accommodation permanently exempt from the benefit cap, to give them a chance to end their homelessness for good.”