Lower benefit cap likely to hit single parent families hardest

Posted 27 January 2015

Gingerbread responds to Prime Minister’s announcement of impeding benefit cap reduction.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement that his party’s first act of government would be to lower the benefit cap to £23,000, Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said:

“61 per cent of those already hit by the benefit cap are single parent families and the majority of these have a child aged under five. It’s likely that under a lower benefit cap single parents and their children would continue to bear the brunt of this cut, losing even more support when many are already struggling to get by.

“Despite government claims that the cap helps people into work, most people affected so far haven’t been able to do so. It can be extremely difficult for single parents with very young children to find a job they can balance with caring for their child, not to mention the money needed to pay nursery fees.

“If the government is committed to helping more people move into work, especially parents, its focus should be on rolling out additional support with childcare costs and working with employers to tackle low pay and create more family-friendly jobs.”


Notes to editors

  • To date, 61% of capped households have been single parent families (Data covers April 2013 to August 2014; DWP (2014) Benefit cap: Number of households capped to August 2014.)
  • 46 per cent of the households affected would be single parents who claim income support, a benefit which recognises that claimants may not be in a position to seek work – for single parents this is typically because they have a child aged four or under. Gingerbread calculation based on answer to parliamentary question on 17 June 2013 and DWP statistics. Mark Hoban: “We estimate around 26,000 lone parent households to be affected by the benefit cap, of which around 70% are in receipt of income support.” This is out of a total of 40,000 households affected overall.
  • DWP: Ad hoc statistics on Households identified as potentially impacted by the benefit cap, April 2013
  • The Institute for Fiscal Studies assessed DWP analysis of the impact of the benefit cap, and found “the large majority of affected claimants responded neither by moving into work nor by moving house” (Emmerson, C. and Joyce, R. (2014) Coping with the cap? Institute for Fiscal Studies).
  • The government has outlined plans to increase support with childcare costs from 70 per cent to 85 per cent under universal credit from 2016.

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