The benefit cap is 'a blunt instrument'

15 April 2013

Today the household benefit cap, which limits benefit payments to £500 per week to most out-of-work families, was introduced in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey. It will be rolled out across the country this summer.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said: 

'This is a blunt instrument trying to solve a complex problem. The policy may be targeted at workless adults, but in reality children are seven times more likely than adults to lose out. We estimate that 140,000 children, compared to 60,000 adults, will pay the price as parents have less to spend on food, clothing and rent. 

'Families, especially in London where the cap is being launched, may have their lives disrupted as they are forced to find cheaper rents in other parts of the country, resulting in children having to leave their schools and friends and breaking vital support networks. The cap will also put pressure on public services in the communities where they are forced to relocate.

'We fully support efforts to make work pay. But it is not right to achieve this by putting more children on the breadline. 

'The government must review the full impact of this latest measure on children and families before it is rolled out across the country.'

Media enquiries

Please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4423 or by email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • The government has stated that 40,000 households are affected by the benefit cap.
  • The Children’s Society has calculated that about 140,000 children will be affected by the benefit cap compared to an estimated 60,000 adults. 
  • Based on the comparative populations of children and adults, this makes children around seven times more likely to be affected (1.04% of children in the country and 0.14% adults).
  • 3.6 million children in the UK are living in poverty.
  • Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
  • Use our child poverty calculator to calculate where the poverty line is depending on the size of a family.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.