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A pilot household benefit cap is now in place in the four London boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey, with the Government planning to implement the welfare reform across the rest of England, Wales and Scotland during the summer.
The cap means that out-of-work parents can only claim up to £500 per week, a factor that Children’s Society chief executive Matthew Reed has compared to a “blunt instrument trying to solve a complex problem”.
Mr Reed gives his verdict: “The policy may be targeted at workless adults, but in reality children are seven times more likely than adults to lose out. We estimate that 140,000 children, compared to 60,000 adults, will pay the price as parents have less to spend on food, clothing and rent.
“Families, especially in London where the cap is being launched, may have their lives disrupted as they are forced to find cheaper rents in other parts of the country, resulting in children having to leave their schools and friends and breaking vital support networks. The cap will also put pressure on public services in the communities where they are forced to relocate.
“We fully support efforts to make work pay. But it is not right to achieve this by putting more children on the breadline.
“The Government must review the full impact of this latest measure on children and families before it is rolled out across the country.”
Works and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith continues to come under criticism for his welfare reforms. Last week he made claims that 8,000 people had already moved into employment in response to the benefit cap, a figure the National Institute of Economic and Social Research then stated there was no evidence for.
Image: courtesy of Conservative Party's photostream