More families hit by benefits cap across Broxtowe during Covid-19 pandemic

The number of families in Eastwood and Kimberley who have seen their benefits capped has increased since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures show.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 11:51 am
The DWP has said a review of the benefit cap will be carried out at "the appropriate time".

Department for Work and Pensions figures show that 120 families had their benefits capped across Broxtowe during February.

This was significantly more than the number capped in the same period last year, when 53 had either their housing benefit or Universal Credit payment reduced.

Of the households impacted this year, 78 (65 per cent) had single parents.

Across Great Britain, 200,000 households had their benefits capped during February, more than twice the 77,700 impacted in the same period last year.

That included 166,200 households with children, and 117,200 with single parents.

The benefit cap limits the total income a household can receive from certain benefits, and currently kicks in at £20,000 per year for families with children.

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

The DWP said the record number in February had been driven by a rise in Universal Credit claimants due to job losses linked to the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

According to Child Poverty Action Group, which wants the cap abolished, households impacted are losing out on an average £62 a week.

The charity said families were finding it hard to escape the cap due to a continued lack of jobs and unaffordable childcare.

Chief executive Alison Garnham said: "The benefit cap has always been an unjust punishment for families.

"Thousands more households who have lost jobs to Covid-19 are now subject to the cap even though in the pandemic it is much harder to find ways to replace their lost earnings and become exempt.

"Especially in areas with high rents, capped families are losing large amounts of social security support and that is disastrous for the children concerned."

In Broxtowe, of the households to have benefits capped in February, the largest proportion – 58 families – had up to £100 taken off the weekly amount they receive, while around 20 had more than £200 removed.