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Anti-poverty campaigns call for end to ‘unjust' benefit cap after figures show numbers affected could rocket

ANTI-POVERTY campaigners called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak today to end the “unjust” benefit cap after figures revealed that the numbers affected could rocket next year.

The benefit cap was introduced by the government in 2013, limiting household support they are entitled to, and it does not rise with inflation.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show that households outside London are now losing out on a massive £1,800 a year when compared with what they would have got if the cap had risen with prices.

And when the Chancellor fulfils a pledge to increase benefits in line with inflation in April next year, that will massively increase the number of households who will have their benefits capped — from around 120,000 to around 150,000, according to analysis by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG).

In a letter to Mr Sunak, the Poverty Alliance called on him to scrap the cap, or at least raise it in line with living costs.

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “The benefit cap is completely unjust and should have no place in a compassionate society.

“It cuts the lifeline that people need and are entitled to.

“The present crisis is simply the latest episode of an ongoing injustice, where people’s incomes have fallen and the social security net that we all rely on has been deliberately cut, with the benefit cap being just one example.

The Poverty Alliance co-ordinates a Scrap the Cap campaign, supported by over 100 organisations across Britain including the Church of Scotland, Save the Children UK, CPAG, One Parent Families Scotland and the Trussell Trust.

A CPAG survey of households affected by the benefit cap found that families have been evicted from homes, fallen into problem debt, or kept children from school because they cannot afford the associated costs.

Nearly two-thirds of households said that in a normal month they do not have enough money to cover basic household expenses like food, rent, electricity and gas.

Many also said that the cap had led to increased mental and physical health problems, as well as households being forced into using foodbanks, and into borrowing money from friends and family and payday lenders.

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