A quarter of Ashfield households hit by benefits caps are now only receiving 50p a week to pay their rent after government cuts, according to new research.
A BBC Panorama investigation has found more than 7,500 families in the UK have had their housing benefits cut to just £2 a month as a result of the Government’s benefits cap.
Ashfield had one of the highest proportions of 50p households with 26 per cent, closely following North Hertfordshire and Bolton.
The cap works by assessing a family’s elibability for different benefits and then deducting anything over the cap of £20,000 from housing benefits or Universal Credit, which ended the system of paying rents directly to landlords. The nominal amount is given so families who need emergency funds an claim them.
But Child Poverty Action Group has said removing people’s benefits means people ‘can’t afford their home.’
Arguing against the claim that caps encourage people to find work, Alison Garnham of the charity said: “80 per cent of themare not really in a category where they are expected to work because they’re sick or have very young children.
Welfare delivery minister Caroline Nokes told the programme: “You have to remember that a household that has only 50p of housing benefit actually is receiving in the region of £20,000 a year outside London, in total benefits. That’s about the same as an ordinary family. Four in ten families would be earning that sort of money.”
A DWP spokesmansaid: “The benefit cap provides a clear incentive to move into employment. Over 26,000 people who were previously capped have moved into work. “Anyone eligible for working tax credits, carers allowance, and most disability benefits are exempt from the cap.”