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Families affected by the overall benefit cap

Key points

  • In 2015, 10,500 families in London were affected by the cap.
  • There were almost as many affected families in London as in the rest of England put together (11,000).
    *2,400 families lost more than £100 per week.

Families affected by the overall benefit cap by cut in benefit

What does the graph show?

One of the most widely publicised benefit changes was the introduction of the overall benefit cap in 2013. This limits the amount of income a workless family could receive in benefit to £26,000 per year (or £500 per week). It had just been introduced when the last Poverty Profile was published and data on the number of people affected was not available. But it was clear that due to its high housing costs London would contain many of those affected - if a workless family is entitled to a high level of housing benefit they are much more likely to exceed the cap.

In 2015, 10,500 families in London were affected by the cap. There were almost as many affected families in London as in the rest of England put together (11,000). Figure 9.6 shows these families by the amount by which their benefit was cut. About a third of those affected in London were up to £25 a week worse off. At the other end of the scale 2,400 families lost more than £100 per week, higher than the number for the rest of England (1,500). London's higher housing costs also mean that the average cut is greater.

Around 1,000 households affected were single adults (whose weekly cap is lower at £350), but the remainder were families with children: 6,800 single parent families and 2,400 couple families. 6,500 families affected had at least three children meaning they had £500 to cover the rent of a three-bedroom property and other costs for the whole family. About half of those affected lived in social rented accommodation and half in private rented.

Data used

Stat-Xplore, DWP. The data is for February 2015.

Indicator last updated: 19 October 2015