Single parents have been the hardest hit since the benefits cap was introduced two years ago. More than 20,000 in London have had their weekly benefits cut.
The impact on lone parents has been felt more in London, where 62% of capped households are single parents, compared with 56% across the country. Nine out of ten lone parents are women.
The benefits cap was introduced in April 2013. It limits the total weekly support to £500 for a couples, with or without children, and single parents. For individuals without a child it is £350. The weekly allowance includes income support, jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit and child benefit.
Many regions of the country have higher rates of people claiming out of work benefits than London yet 45% of the households capped over the last 2 years have been in capital. The benefits bill in London is pushed up by housing benefits claims that result from high rental costs. 90% of the families with two or three children that have been capped are in London. Elsewhere in the country it is easier for a family of this size to rent a home without housing benefit. Outside London it is mostly larger families, with four children or more who are losing benefits.
The majority of households capped in London lost £50 or under from their weekly benefits but 119 have had £400 or more taken out of their claim. Most of these were in Brent and Ealing, the two boroughs that saw most households capped. The fewest capped households are in the more affluent areas in the south west of the city.
More families are likely to see their benefits cut this autumn when the cap is lowered. Currently a family can claim up to £26,000 a year. This will be reduced to just under £23,000 or £442 per week.