Lies, damn lies and DWP benefit cap claims

The DWP has knowingly been telling lies to the public about the overall benefit cap.  The benefit cap is set at 20% BELOW the average household income and not at the same level which the coalition has repeated claimed.

Wednesday this week saw day one of the scheduled three day judicial review hearing against the lawfulness of the coalition governments overall benefit cap set at £500 per week for families and £350 per week for single persons.

Despite this being at court it didnt stop the DWP spokesperson from restating the known lie – that the benefit cap of £500 per week equates with average household income.  It doesn’t and average household income after tax was £31 297 in 2011/12 according to official ONS figures or just over £600 per week – 20% more than the coalition claim and that is figures from 2 years ago too so will now be higher.

Anyone who has read or heard about the £500 per week overall benefit cap has found the coalition government saying no family on benefit should get more than the average HOUSEHOLD income of £500 per week.  Yesterday ahead of the judicial review it was quoted by DWP that: –

A DWP spokesman said before the hearing:

“We are confident that the measures are lawful. The benefit cap sets a fair limit to what people can expect to get from the welfare system so that claimants cannot receive more than £500 a week, the average household earnings.”

The DWP just can’t help themselves when it comes to issuing known lies can they?

Here is the table from the official ONS 2011/12 data

Summary of the effects of taxes and benefits by quintile groups on ALL households, 2011/12

Income, taxes and benefits per household

£ Per Year
Quintile groups of ALL households1
Bottom      2nd     3rd     4th    Top All households Ratio Top/Bottom quintile
  Original income 5 436 11 813 22 946 38 906 78 283 31 477 14
    plus cash benefits 7 419 8 448 7 187 4 388 2 453 5 979 0.3
  Gross income 12 855 20 260 30 132 43 294 80 736 37 456 6.3
    less direct taxes and employees’ NIC 1 306 2 263 4 781 8 887 19 905 7 428 15
  Disposable income 11 548 17 997 25 352 34 407 60 831 30 027 5.3
    less indirect taxes 3 400 4 009 5 206 6 230 8 743 5 518 2.6
  Post-tax income 8 148 13 988 20 146 28 177 52 087 24 509 6.4
    plus benefits in kind 7 674 7 386 7 380 6 260 5 238 6 787 0.7
  Final income 15 823 21 373 27 526 34 437 57 325 31 297 3.6
Household type (percentages)
Retired  35  41  31  17  10  27
Non-retired  65  59  69  83  90  73
All household types  100  100  100  100  100  100

Table source: Office for National Statistics

You will note I have highlighted the £31,297 per year average net household income – which was 2 years ago of £601.87 per week and NOT the £500 per week the DWP and the rest of the coalition regularly state as fact.

You can’t tell me that the government don’t know these statistics as after all their agency produces them!! That is why the DWP is KNOWINGLY telling lies and KNOWINGLY misleading the public.  I do hope they try to mislead the Lord Justices at the High Court by stating these known lies again as justification for the overall benefit cap policy. The response from the LJ’s should the Secretary of State try this would be very interesting don’t you think.

Now come on even IDS is not that stupid….is he?




15 thoughts on “Lies, damn lies and DWP benefit cap claims

  1. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    I wrote about this in May, then Johnny Void did an article in August, and now its SPeye’s turn to point out the glaring error in DWP benefit cap calculations. It’s a big, BIG lie, so most of the population won’t question it – and that’s how Iain Duncan Smith gets away with it.

  2. I DO SO hope the Lawyers for the 3 families are also aware of this and bring this up in their evidence to the a suitably embarrassing point of course… te he:-)

  3. Through reading blogs on wordpress, speye etc I (as i am sure many others) have been able to access this type of info and will be forever in all of your debt. The info you provide is valuable important and vital, I honestly believe there are many ppl with little or no knowledge yet alone have access to a laptop, no idea of support groups and assistance available and this is not all due to the “bury head in sand” syndrome. Every day more ppl are being informed and word is spreading! Yes it is a very BIG LIE and most of the population are not aware of the FACTS….. Once they hear the truth they WILL question but its info from all your blogs that will help achieve that! HONEST! lol

  4. They rely on eliding the distinction between average earnings and average income and hoping nobody notices. They don’t, strictly, lie in so far as they always claim that the benefit cap is based on the principle that total benefits should not exceed average earnings. They lie by omission of course in failing to point that a household on average earnings will also receive a substantial amount in state benefits, through tax credits, HB and so on. In fact the nasty secret behind a lot of their rhetoric is that so many people in work are also on benefit.

  5. This is complex. According to the primary legislation the cap is to be set by reference to the “average weekly earnings of a working household” after tax and NI deductions. See s96(7) of the welfare Reform Act 2012. So just earnings, not other income like Child Benefit and Tax Credits. Because of the distorting effect of salaries at the top end of the range in our unequal society, the mathematical mean is higher than the median, so it depends which average you want to use. Median gross earnings are under £500 a week, and lower still after tax – that is easy to see from your third quintile figures in the chart above (because that is the zone in which the median will fall). But when you work out the mathematical mean including bankers and the like, you get £31,477 before tax.

    I am not saying I support the benefit cap by the way – the government’s rhetoric is objectionable and if the true intention behind the scenes, away from the Daily Mail pleasing politics, is to do something about the ludicrous private rented sector in London there must be a fairer way to achieve it. But unfortunately I do not think the figures demonstrate that the cap is illegal within its own terms of reference.

    1. Peter – its for the law to decide if its lawful or not and that wasn’t my point. My point was and is proven that the DWP have been knowingly telling lies and the average HOUSEHOLD income AFTER TAX is 20% MORE than they have been saying. A simple point to prove a simple lie (and all averages even the know lies of the DWP include high earners too)

  6. Reblogged this on The SKWAWKBOX Blog and commented:
    The Coalition rhetoric about benefit claimants ‘earning more than the average household income’ would be nonsense even if it were true. But it isn’t.

    And the use of clear facts and figures to demonstrate the truth makes this essential reading which the SKWAWKBOX wholeheartedly commends.

  7. “The cap is based on median earnings after tax and national insurance contributions for working households.

    An estimate for this was produced using a simulation model based on up-rated data from
    the 2008-09 Family Resources Survey. The single rate is approximately 70% of the couple rate and is in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) equivalisation factors which adjust incomes to take into account both the size and composition of households. ”

    I hold much against IDS, but not the fact he can’t include asterisks in his speech.

  8. we have to remember that the benefits bill in the first place is there to help those with NO or LOW incomes and benefits are primarily used to subsidise low wages if companies paid a decent living wage and rents were capped in the private sector then a lower benefits bill would automatically ensue
    Benefits are also today worth less than half of what they were worth 30 years ago so just goes to show that IDS is an allround liar not just on benefit caps

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