From 7th November, the Government’s benefit cap for families on out-of-work benefits in London has been reduced to £23,000 (£15,410 for single people).
Islington Council estimates upwards of 800 local households will be affected, with an average reduction in income of around £50 per household each week. Some households will lose more than £200 a week.
200 residents are already affected by the benefit cap, and a further 600 will be impacted from Boxing Day this year when they are subject to the benefit cap for the first time.
Islington Council is offering support to hundreds of households in the borough who will be affected by the benefit cap which the government is lowering today.
Independent research commissioned by the council looked at 22,388 low-income Islington households who are of working age and subject to welfare reforms. It found that benefit changes since 2010 have resulted in an average fall in income of £5.62 per week for these households. Between now and 2020, it predicts these households will lose on average a further £40 a week.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council’s executive member for finance, performance and community safety, said: “Today, around 200 Islington households already affected by the current benefit cap will get hit again, losing a further £57 a week as the cap is lowered to £23,000 a year. A third of these people are already living in temporary accommodation. Then, on Boxing Day, at least a further 600 Islington households will get a late, unwelcome Christmas present when they are hit by the benefit cap for the first time.
“Islington Council’s IMAX and iWork teams, who offer financial guidance and employment coaching, will continue to support all of these households closely to help them find work or consider their options.
“When it comes to so-called ‘welfare reform’, though, we need to consider not each government measure in isolation but the cumulative effect of this raft of reforms overall. 22,000 households in Islington -; around a fifth of all the households in the borough -; will be in the region of £45 per week on average worse off in real terms in 2020 than they were when a decade of Tory welfare reform began in 2010.
“In the face of these relentless cuts to social security, our local Council Tax Support Scheme and Resident Support Scheme can feel like fraying ropes in an increasingly threadbare safety net.”
For the full commissioned research on the impact of welfare reform in Islington, see here.
Pictured – Cllr Andy Hull