Benefit Cap – A marauding swarm of homeless British children

Every day next year the benefit cap will make a classroom full of children homeless in Liverpool.

Eleven thousand children is my cautious figure, 11,009 to be precise, of 3.31 children on average in each of the also cautious 3326 families the benefit cap will make homeless in Liverpool.  1,359 families now living in social housing and 1,967 living in private rented housing will be affected and all due to the £115.38 per week reduction in the overall benefit cap.

365 days times 30 children in a classroom is 10,950 children.

Those cautious figures represent less than 2% of all social housing tenants and noticeably in a low rent area and doubtless some millionaire Conservative MP will say this means more than 98% are not affected yet the overall figures still means a classroom full of children will be evicted every single day of the year.

Eleven thousand children.  Just dwell on that and I feel no need to offer any further rant on that horror.

An inescapable legal duty passes to Liverpool City Council to find these children and their parents somewhere new to live and at a cost to the Council of around £30 million.

So even if you do not give a flying fig about children or even if you do, you will be wondering what £30 million worth of cuts to services Liverpool City Council will have no option but to make and/or how much your council tax will be increasing by to pay for all of this.

Wherever you live in the UK this will be the same for your council too even if it is a Conservative run council and the benefit cap is a massive transfer of cost from central to local government regardless of what party runs your council.

I have detailed elsewhere precisely why it will be this level of number and to very quickly simplify this the current £500 pw cap means that in Liverpool, a low rent area, for that cap level to impact the family needs to be a couple with at least four children in a very expensive privately rented 4 bed property and more likely with 5 or more children.  The new £384 pw cap means it will affect the couple with two children in a privately rented 2 bed flat and all with 3 or more children in a former council house or housing association property.

The benefit cap also means that a mum with a day old baby has to find work to escape the cap else a typical £75.73 per week reduction applies.  The benefit cap unlike all other welfare policies has no grace period that means a Mum is not expected to work until a child reaches school age; she has to do this from the birth of the child and even when 9 months pregnant.

Note too there is no financial saving in this anywhere. The current benefit cap of £500 pw actually costs more, £1 billion per year more says the IFS think tank as it creates additional costs in the system and the more you reduce it the greater those other costs become.  Even if the lone parent who will account for two-thirds of all families made homeless should take a job at the national minimum wage it will still cost the taxpayer more due to working tax credits being paid and still have all the rent paid and in total will cost the public purse more.

There is no financial rhyme or reason in the benefit cap.

These children will probably have to move school and will be placed in temporary accommodation with nowhere for them to do homework or have any privacy and not having any cooking facilities either as in this Luton example which even the Daily Mail find to be an outrage.

Currently, the benefit cap is seen as a largely London only phenomenon, something that only affects large families in high rent areas, and 45% of all currently hit by the benefit cap are in the capital and 55% in the rest of England, Scotland and Wales.  Yet the reduction to £384.62 per week – the £20,000 per year overall cap – will see almost four in five families (78%) being in the regions as I explained here in detail and in simple terms families with 2 and 3 and 4 children will be affected in low rent Liverpool and in the regions where they were not before and the regions account for 5 in every 6 families.

So whether you think

  • 800,000+ children made homeless is an outrage or whether the inevitable huge increases in Council Tax is or;
  • the inevitable closures to libraries or your bins being collected once a month rather than once a week is an outrage; or
  • whether you have the perspicacity to see that in 10 years time British business will be saying British children are not educationally qualified enough to work for British businesses and they have to employ higher qualified Bulgarians and/or whoever is the latest in a long line of foreigners to blame for superficially errant British policies such as this benefit cap…
  • or all the above and more…

Then you still have the chance to raise awareness of this farrago.

  • Liverpool 11,009 children – a 2277% increase
  • Birmingham 21,376 children – 906% increase
  • Bristol 7,527 children – 1327% increase
  • Cardiff 6,008 children – 948% increase
  • Cornwall 9,569 children – 3314% increase
  • Glasgow 14,415 children – 3461% increase
  • Hull 5,643 children – 1654% increase
  • Leeds 11,882 children – 1176% increase
  • Leicester 5,973 children – 1383% increase
  • Manchester 10,726 children – 1168% increase
  • Nottingham 6,261 children – 1308% increase
  • Sheffield 7,544 children – 1692% increase
  • Sunderland 5,296 children – 2328% increase

A range above from a 906% increase in Birmingham to a 3461% increase in Glasgow.  London is a 545% increase by comparison and that reveals again how the benefit cap will see 4 in every 5 capped households be outside of high rent London and how the reductions to the cap will manifest.

Some local council areas have no benefit capped households at present yet for instance Craven now at zero goes to 145 households, Hambleton from 0 to 240 and Rossendale from 0 to 277 households.

Other areas such as Cambridge will increase from 19 households to 363 households affected and have around 1200 children affected compared to about 60 today. How will Cambridge City Council cope with this marauding swarm of British children made homeless?  How will any councils education strategy be planned? How much will council tax increase by in your local authority?  How many British children will be begging on the streets?  Have you ever seen the film Oliver?

You can be forgiven if all of the above sounds incredulous or is scaremongering which it is not and the figures above are very cautious and probable underestimates and they equate to low single figure percentages of all tenants. Alternatively you can choose to believe the DWP who say the new benefit cap will ONLY affect 126,000 households with 330,000 children that is half a million men women and children affected.


The Conservatives AND Labour support the benefit cap reductions. A plague on both your houses


The original detailed numbers are here

The updated numbers on that are here

Further detailed benefit cap numbers and what it means here

The fact the existing benefit cap actually costs more is here and the IFS view on that (which exaggerates it) is below

ifs hb real terms


The easiest way to illustrate the numbers is by looking at the table below


The above is a table for all areas outside of London and shows what households will be affected by the benefit cap at £20,000 per year and compares that to the households affected now at the £500 per week.

The Green shading means the 2P1C-ESA household – 2 Parent 1 Child household on ESA – is not affected now and right up to the 1 Parent 4 Child households are not currently affected.

Yet all of these household sizes WILL be affected by the £20,000 cap as is shown when the green shading changes to red reading right to left and in the lowest rent areas of GB too.

For example the 2 Parent 2 Child household on JSA in low rent Liverpool gets £267 per week and that leaves £233 per week as the maximum housing benefit hence they are not affected.  YET when the cap falls to £384.62 per week in April 2016 that household can only receive £118 per week in housing benefit which will not cover the cost of a 2 bed private rented property and will not cover the cost of a 3 bed PRS property in low rent Liverpool.

All of the changes from green to red demonstrate how many more household types will be affected than currently and this is why (a) the numbers affected will rise so dramatically with a 28-fold increase in Liverpool for example, and (b) these households in London are mostly already affected and that explains why it will only be a 5-fold increase in the capital.




7 thoughts on “Benefit Cap – A marauding swarm of homeless British children

  1. Joe what data exactly did the government use to come up with this 126000/330000 figure?

    People still support the cap on the whole. You only have to look at the comments attached to any article on the cap in the Guardian. However, it’s clear that misinformation from the media has given the majority of people the wrong idea. Most have no clue that rent alone can use up 20K, or even 26K in large families in certain areas. Also, they seem to think 26K is like a wage paid to all. Few appreciate that it’s the paltry couple of hundred quid or so per month per child that’s effectively eaten up by topping up lost HB.

    What can be done Joe, should we have a dedicated demonstration.? Noone seems to be listening.

    Jeremy has always been against the cap, but the other 3 have not rescinded their support, just ignoring it. I keep phoning Andys office to specifically ask, but noone ever gets back to me.
    Cant imagine how id feel if I hadn’t found your blog. You and Rebekah Carrier are the only people in the media who really get this.
    Sorry for long post.

    1. I think part of the problem is that the whole issue of benefits and affordable housing has become so complex over decades that the only people who really understand what’s going are people who work in it and/or have the time like Joe to untangle all the different elements of policies and laws to find out their combined effect. This has turned out to be a god send for government because no one really knows what to oppose; there are so many contradictions and complexities. A simple example is the whole ‘affordable’ housing versus ‘Affordable’ housing (with a capital ‘A’).

      This issue cannot be reduced to sound bites, and there lies the problem which leaves bloggers with an uphill struggle to get the message out there.

Please leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s