Another way of looking at my claim that the overall benefit cap will hit 171,000 families next year (the revised DWP figures that until October 2012 said it would be just 56,000 families) is to look at a FOI request released by Full Fact.
Full fact released a freedom of information request they requested last month on 2010 figures (Yes HB figures that are 2 years out of date and a point to note!) which details the numbers claiming HB and the HB payment levels within each cost band and part of this is reproduced below.
The following table is reproduced from the FOI gives a breakdown for questions 2 and 3 for the whole of Great Britain.
HB Award (£ per year) HB recipients Average Household Size (People)
£4,000 or less 2,645,060 2
£4-6,000 1,454,290 2
£6-10,000 482,630 2
£10-13,000 101,200 3
£13-15,000 25,910 3
£15-20,000 33,750 3
£20-25,000 6,250 4
£25-30,000 3,140 4
£30-35,000 820 5
£35-40,000 820 5
more than £40,000 400 6
Total 4,754,270 2
Source: Single Housing Benefit Extract, August 2010.
The overall benefit cap figure is £500.00 per week and the average family with 3 children get about £325pw in welfare benefits or will in April 2013 when the OBC commences. This means that a maximum residual is left in the OBC for housing costs of £175pw or approximately £8,800 per year. Or anyone receiving more than £8,800 per year in HB with 3 children will be capped by the OBC.
From the above table that DWP provided at August 2010 figures (and the number of claimants has risen by 274,460 since then so there will be more) 172,290 families receivigng in excess of £10,000 per annum above (the numbers emboldened above.)
We could extrapolate a further approximate 145,000 from the 482,000 figure above to represent those getting £8801 – £9999 and we see the OBC possibly affecting circa 316,000 families in April 2013 who all have 3 or more children. Yet we still have a Parliamentary written answer last week stating that just 56,000 families will be affected!!
This is patently wrong and Parliament and the public are being misled!
I first reported that the 171,000 families would see a city the size of Liverpool displaced in the homeless diaspora that will flow from the OBC. It seems I was wrong and significantly underestimated the figures…and its a city the size of Birmingham not Liverpool! 316,000 families each consisting of 5 members (2 adults 2 children) on average is 1.58m people
Some of the above will have been hit already by the LHA caps so that number will reduce though the coalition stated on their introduction that just 14,303 LHA claims exceeded the LHA cap figure of £400pw when this was introduced (though Crisis had this at 21,000). So we could deduct either the 14303 /21000 figue from the 172,290 but then add on a percentage of the new 274,460 claimants since then so the 171,000 figure extrapolated from the DWP October announcement seems valid, if an underestimate. Even taking 72,000 persons or so away from this (2 adults 3 children family x 14203) leaves 1.5m people affected
The above FOI release not only confirms my interpretation of the revised DWP figures of 171,000 families will be affected next year and indeed increases that figure, it confirms that DWP knew about and had these figures in August 2010 – over two years ago!!
It is a very simple and frankly obvious question the FOI request asks in that what are the numbers getting £x per week in HB and figures we can see clearly were known. That is the most basic question any impact assessment MUST ask!
So why did DWP not release this in any impact assessment?
Why did DWP release a supposedly ‘final’ estimate in July 2012 to say the OBC would only affect 56,000 families when they knew it was at least triple that number?
We also know that the leaked “Pickles letter” (see here) meant that Pickles and the CLG knew the OBC would cost more in homeless and other costs back in July 2011. Yet still they allowed knowing misinformation to be released from their own department to the public!
The government has deliberately withheld these figures and allowed its politicians to mislead (yes a euphemism for barefaced knowingly lie to) the electorate.
Aside from the catastrophic impact it will have on vulnerable families and aside from the net cost to the public purse and the taxpayer the OBC will have, the government has lied to the electorate.
What other conclusion can there be?