Benefit cap inquiry: Gingerbread written submission to the Work and Pensions select committee

Published on 10 September 2018


The benefit cap is not fit for purpose for single parent families. The policy also does not fulfil government intentions for the welfare system or wider society.

The benefit cap should be abandoned, given its failings. Should the government persist, action is urgently needed to review the policy to ensure consistency with the wider welfare system and fairness for families with children.

Key findings

  • The benefit cap is at odds with other parts of the welfare system, and fails to recognise single parents’ intent or ability to work – meaning they have little chance to escape the cap, especially those with young children.
  • The impact of the benefit cap – especially for single parents – is severe, damaging finances and wider family well-being.
  • The lowered benefit cap has seen little change in achieving policy objectives, instead extending the reach of its negative policy impact.

Should the government persist with the benefit cap, a fairer policy would see:

  • Exemptions to ensure consistency (eg for single parents not expected to work under job-seeking benefits)
  • Fairer level and scope of the cap (eg reflecting private rent, excluding Maternity Allowance and children’s benefits)
  • Better, proactive support for capped households (eg help those in mini-jobs to progress, ensure better access to part-time/flexible work)
  • Stronger safeguards (eg committed Discretionary Housing Payment funding, continuing evaluation).