Press release

Public think benefit cap claimants should work or move

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Independent research published on public view about the benefit cap.

The vast majority (70%) of the public think people affected by the benefit cap should be prepared to find jobs or work more hours and two-thirds (65%) say they should be willing to move to a cheaper property.

Independent research published today (10 October 2013) shows that 60% support the cap even if it means that those affected have to take a job, regardless of the pay.

The Ipsos MORI report shows public attitudes towards the benefit cap and is published following the completion of its national rollout last month.

The Ipsos MORI report finds:

  • around three-quarters of the public support the benefit cap in principle
  • 58% think that politicians needed to do more to reduce the welfare bill
  • 50% think that benefits are too generous
  • 11% think the benefits system is working effectively

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith said:

Today’s report makes it clear that the public support setting a limit on benefits and the successful delivery of the benefit cap shows we are committed to returning fairness to the welfare state.

Claimants affected by the cap need to make decisions about work and housing and what they can afford, just as hardworking families do.

We have made sure the support is there to help people back into work and the benefit cap and Universal Credit will ensure that work pays.

The benefit cap limits are set at £500 a week for couples, with or without children, and lone parent households, and at £350 a week for households of a single adult with no children. The cap is in place nationwide for existing appropriate claimants and all new claims are subject to the cap.

Since claimants were first notified of the benefit cap in April 2012, Jobcentre Plus have helped around 16,500 potentially capped claimants into work.

More information

Read the full report “The Benefit Cap: Public Perceptions and Pre-implementation Effects” released today (10 October 2013) by Ipsos MORI. The first key findings of this research were published on 12 July 2013.

Ipsos MORI conducted a nationally-representative online survey of 2,017 British adults aged 16-75 between 31 May and 5 June 2013. Data are weighted to be representative of Great Britain by key attributes including tenure, age, gender, region, social grade and work status.

The benefit cap applies to combined income from the main out-of-work benefits, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, and Employment and Support Allowance, and other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and Carer’s Allowance.

The benefit cap does not affect a household if a member is entitled to Working Tax Credit, increasing the incentive to find work.

In recognition of their additional needs, all households which include somebody who is receiving the following benefits will be exempt from the cap:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Industrial Injuries Benefit
  • War Disablement Pension and the equivalent payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Payments Scheme
  • Attendance Allowance
  • the support component of Employment and Support Allowance

People who receive a War Widow’s or Widower’s Pension will be exempt, as a part of the government’s commitment to those serving or who have served in the Armed Forces and to their dependants.

There will be a ‘grace period’ during which the benefit cap will not be applied for 39 weeks to those who have been continuously in work for the previous 12 months.

The cap will only apply to people of working age, so income from Pension Credit will not count towards the cap.

Potentially affected claimants were first contacted in April 2012 with offers of support from Jobcentre Plus.

The benefit cap started with 4 London boroughs in April 2013 and the national implementation started in July.

National implementation of the benefit cap was managed over a 10-week period split into 2 groups of council areas, with all appropriate households capped by the end of September.

The first group of council areas included all local authorities with 275 households or fewer potentially capped households. The second group, which started in August, covered local authorities with 276 or more potentially capped households.

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