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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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"Scrap the Cap": Campaigners demand end to benefit cap after no response from Chancellor

 

Representatives will travel to Westminster on Tuesday to highlight the "moral failing" of the benefit cap.

Anti-poverty campaigners will go to Downing Street on Tuesday to tell Chancellor Rishi Sunak to end the unjust benefit cap as new polling revealed a majority of the UK public want to see the policy scrapped.

Last week, more than 100 campaign groups, charities, trade unions, faith groups and health organisations signed a joint letter ahead of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement to Parliament. 

In it, they described the benefit cap as a “moral failing” and urged Sunak to scrap the policy which they say “knowingly and purposefully” locks families into poverty.

After the letter went unanswered by the Chancellor, they are travelling to Downing Street to deliver it in person.

The benefit cap blocks households from getting all the help they need from the social security system. 

Across the UK, 190,000 households are affected by the cap, losing out on around £55 a week - money that they have been assessed as needing. 

Some 90 per cent of these are households with children, with more than 6,000 households affected in Scotland.

In 2013, government polling found that the benefit cap was supported by 73 per cent of people, but now a new survey carried out by Survation for the Poverty Alliance has found that 57 per cent now think the UK Government should remove the benefit cap.

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “We’re not surprised by the massive fall in support for the unjust benefit cap. People are seeing the effect it has in practice – stopping households getting enough to pay their bills, restricting the life chances of adults and children, and forcing people into foodbanks and increased debt.

“It’s a failed policy that should have no place in our society. It cuts the lifeline that people need and are entitled to, just at a time when more and more households are being caught up in a rising tide of living costs. 

“The public know that this is a policy that has to go; the Chancellor should listen to them, and have the compassion and courage to scrap the cap now.”

The Scrap the Cap campaign is being coordinated by the Poverty Alliance and is supported by over 100 organisations across the UK including the Church of Scotland, Save the Children UK, the Child Poverty Action Group, One Parent Families Scotland, and the Trussell Trust.

Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said: “The benefit cap has always been an unjust policy - in the face of soaring costs, the cap further squeezes the incomes of some of the poorest families in the UK. 

“It penalises parents of young children who are not even required to look for work – there is no respectable case for keeping it, the cap must be scrapped.”

A DWP spokesperson told TFN: “The benefit cap, up to the equivalent salary of £24k, balances fairness for taxpayers with providing a vital safety net, while our Plan for Jobs is helping more people into and to progress in work.

“Moving into employment significantly increases the likelihood of a household not being affected by the cap. 

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility."

 

Comments

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Kelly Pritchard
30 days ago

Am a single mum with benefit cap in place I can't afford to pay my bills and eat let alone do my kids birthdays Christmas I am in so much det now since being capped then I ever was before lifting the cap would help but you and the government don't think of us single family's struggling in that way