The number of households affected by the cruel benefit cap has skyrocketed by a shocking 93% during the Covid-19 crisis, new figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveal.
Figures show that a total of 154,000 families across the country had their benefits reduced by £248 per month on average in May 2020, a 93% increase on February and the largest single rise since April 2003.
Almost two thirds of families affected are single parent households and 86% of currently capped households include children.
Labour along with the IFS, Child Poverty Action Group and over 50 organisations have called for the cap to be temporarily suspended due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but to date the Tory government has refused to budge.
Seema Malhotra MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Minister, said: “These figures must serve as a wakeup call to the Government.
“Labour has repeatedly called on the Government to scrap the benefit cap to avoid the picture we are seeing today.
“This is a policy that is pushing children and families into poverty.
“With around eight job seekers for every vacancy, rising to 20 per vacancy in some parts of the country, this is a Government totally out of touch with the reality of people’s lives.
“The Government must target support at those most in need, rather than pursuing a one size fits all approach.
“Ending the benefit cap would put much-needed cash into the pockets of Britain’s poorest families, helping them through this crisis without a devastating increase in household debt.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “The benefit cap, up to the equivalent salary of £28,000 in London, ensures fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and a strong work incentive, whilst providing a much needed safety net of support.
“We remain committed to helping the most vulnerable in society, which is why we currently spend more than £95 billion a year on the benefits system, supporting more than seven million people.”