Benefits cap cut to have "severe" impact on 116,000 families, housing chiefs warn

LOWERING the benefits cap will have "widespread and severe impact" on nearly 120,000 families and will put many at serious risk of losing their home, a housing body has warned.

The new cap, which comes into effect on 7 November, cuts the amount of benefits a household can receive from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere.

The Chartered Institute of Housing said the changes will affect 116,000 families across the social and private rented sectors, with households losing out on up to £115 per week. The vast majority, it added, are two- and three-children families and in all, around 300,000 children will be affected.

It added that despite the cap being £3,000 higher in London, it is still not enough to compensate for the higher cost of housing. As a result, 18,000 families will be affected in the capital, with another 17,500 affected in the South East.

Outside London and the South East, the North West will be worst hit with 13,000 families affected.

Another 6,700 families will be affected in Scotland, along with nearly 6,000 in Wales.

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat CBE said: "The results of our research are extremely worrying. It shows that the reduction in total benefits is going to hit some of the most vulnerable families of all sizes across England, Scotland and Wales," she added.

"These families will lose out when the cap comes into effect from 7 November and in many cases will straight away face a substantial gap between their rent and the help they receive to pay for their housing.

"Worryingly, our analysis shows many families could be one redundancy or a period of ill health away from being in this situation. We are seriously concerned that this could have a severe impact on these families, make housing in large sections of the country unaffordable and risk worsening what is already a growing homelessness problem.

"This is a measure which seriously risks undermining the Government's commitment to make society fairer for families in Great Britain and we suggest that they look at this urgently."