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THOUSANDS of Scottish families are unable to pay their rent or buy food because of the UK government’s benefits cap, official figures showed today.
Latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that 3,364 households have been affected, with UK-wide figures showing an average loss of £51 a week.
Research from Citizens Advice Scotland has found that the cap — which limits the amount a household can receive in support — is linked to families falling behind on rent, being referred to foodbanks and experiencing relationship problems.
The Scottish Greens branded the policy “cruel,” claiming that it undermines the work of local authorities and charities in supporting low-income families.
Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: “I am shocked that the UK government thinks it is acceptable to make more than 3,000 families — some of Scotland’s poorest — even worse off.
“We know that children growing up in poverty are at higher risk of health problems both as children and as adults, so this also has a potentially very damaging long-term impact.
“The benefit cap must be brought to an end urgently.”
A DWP spokesman said: “We spend over £95 billion a year on working-age benefits, giving people financial help if they’re unemployed, low-paid or unable to work.
“The benefit cap ensures fairness by asking families receiving benefits to face the same financial choices as families supporting themselves solely through work.
“Meanwhile, Scotland has significant welfare powers and can top up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits altogether.”
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