Aberdeenshire families’ incomes hit by benefit cap

The number of families in Aberdeenshire who have been hit by a benefit cap has surged since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 6:30 am
Charities say families are being pushed into poverty by the benefits cap.

With a record number of families affected in Britain, the Government is facing calls to abolish the cap from charities who say the policy is an "unjust punishment" on poorer households.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show that 299 families had their benefits capped in Aberdeenshire during February.

This was more than double the number capped in the same period last year, when 141 had either their housing benefit or Universal Credit payment reduced.

Of the households impacted this year, 202 (68 per cent) had single parents.

The benefit cap limits the total income a household can receive from certain benefits, and currently kicks in at £20,000 per year for families with children. The limits are lower for single adults and lone parents whose children do not live with them.

According to Child Poverty Action Group, which wants the cap abolished, households impacted are losing out on an average £62 a week.

Chief executive Alison Garnham said: "Thousands more households who have lost jobs to Covid-19 are now subject to the cap even though in the pandemic it is much harder to find ways to replace their lost earnings and become exempt."

In Aberdeenshire, of the households to have benefits capped in February, the largest proportion – 136 families – had up to £100 taken off the weekly amount they receive, while 70 had more than £200 removed.