DWP Benefit Cap estimates versus actual figures from FOI requests – a chronic and dangerous underestimate

I detail below the worst ever and most dangerous estimate you are ever likely to see from any government.

I am talking about the DWP’s estimate for the number of households affected when the overall benefit cap reduces by 23% in November and I have through 2 separate FOI requests some actual data from Wirral MBC and some estimated figures from the DWP to fully substantiate my points.

Last year I was sent a FOI response from Wirral MBC which is in a table below and note that this actual data is for working-age families only in receipt of housing benefit.

The actual data of HB recipients MBC Wirral (working-age only)

OBC wirral actual numbers

obcactual wirral

The table on the left above shows that 286 couples with 3 children in the PRS receive the LHA version of housing benefit and these 286 households can receive up to £126.58 per week in housing benefit as a couple with 3 children qualify for a 3 bed LHA rate. Let’s be cautious and say the 3 bed PRS rent is £130 per week.

Now look at the table on the right which reveals that the couple with 3 children on JSA can only receive a maximum housing benefit (LHA or HB) of just £50.68 per week from November to set against this £130 per week rent and means they will get a housing benefit cut of £75.90 per week (£126.58 down to £50.68)

The DWP in its less than infinite wisdom estimates that just 25 couples with 3 children out of this cohort of 286 of working age will be affected as the FOI response received this evening reveals:

The DWP estimated figures – Wirral MBC

obc dwp estimate

As you can see the figures are the worst underestimate from the DWP since they said only 3 – 5000 would be affected by their pre 1996 bedroom tax loophole (aka cock up) that saw over 40,000 affected and wrongly had the bedroom tax levied or ten times as many as DWP (both IDS and Freud) said.  (**)

The figures are even worse for social housing as the DWP estimate says only 12 of the 297 couples of working age with three children in social housing will be affected and 96% will be exempt!!!

What planet are these DWP buffoons on?

Let me make one thing very clear and avoid all doubt – These figures are the DWP figures that all local authorities are working to as you can see from the FOI questions above:

obc wirral not la function

The DWP has identified these numbers says the FOI response to question 1 and question 2 sees the local council confirming it is working to these DWP estimates as “This is not a function for Wirral Council.”  That will go for all councils not just Wirral MBC and this is dangerous in the extreme not just a chronic underestimate.

Wirral MBC  again like other councils – go on to say they have shared this data from DWP with social landlords as a protocol allows and social landlords are then working  ‘intensively’ with those social tenants identified as being affected.

YET those social landlords have been told just 12 of 297 couples of working age with three children in social housing are affected – just 4% of all working age couples with three children in receipt of housing benefit with the other 96% of these working-age couples with three children are exempt or not affected!!  It is probable and in fact cautious that 50% of this  297 social renting households are not exempt and will be affected around 150 not the DWP estimate of just 12.

That means 150 are not on DLA or PIP or on ESA and in the support group or are in receipt of Working Tax Credits – and these exemptions as I have detailed before are nowhere near 50% and closer to 35% in social housing which means closer to 200 of the 297 will be hit and not 12 as the DWP state.

The DWP estimate that just 6 of 120 working age couples with 4 children in social housing will be affected, just 5% when they do not receive a penny in Housing Benefit because they get £401.14 per week in JSA, Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit already and so will not just get zero in housing benefit they will also lose a further £16.52 per week on top as they already get this over the new £384.62 per week reduced cap figure.

What f*cking planet is the DWP on with these estimates?

The only possible way that 95% of all couples with 4 children can be exempt is if they are working or in receipt of OBC exempt benefits such as DLA or PIP. when nationally the Family Resource Survey and other official figures say not more than 16% are on DLA or PIP.

As I have maintained ever since the OBC level was mooted to reduce to £20k per year or £384.62 per week the DWP figures on this have been a joke and they are being given a compliment to call them a joke as the above proves.

When I released very detailed figures last year on this from an extremely complex modelling using all available public variables (and far more than the DWP used in their estimates) I said then that the DWP estimate of up to 135,000 households affected which was their maximum figure was laughable and that the reduced OBC will affect circa 195,000 households outside of London alone and so will see an additional minimum of 500,000 children evicted and made homeless due to the average weekly cut of £76 per week in housing benefit.

Now that we have some actual versus estimated figures perhaps people will finally get off their lazy arses and make a fuss about a minimum of half a million CHILDREN this policy will make homeless.  That is an apolitical point too as the Labour Party 2015 general election manifesto also sought a reduction in the overall benefit cap level.

These actual versus DWP estimate figures prove my arguments beyond a shadow of a doubt over the overall benefit cap nightmare impacts That I have been ‘banging on about for years’ and just like the pre 1996 bedroom tax issue when I said it would be over 40,000 and was ridiculed for that and called a scaremonger yet again … ah plus ca change!

It is over three years since I first gave presentations to housing organisations about the overall benefit cap that of course were disparaged and stated to be scare mongering and over four years since I first drafted blogs on this issue and over a year since I presented genuinely estimated figures way in excess of 60% more than the DWP risible estimates I destroy above.

Just as government and indeed housing associations hijacked the word ‘affordable’ to be its direct antithesis the above proves once again that the ‘scare monger’ tag I so regularly received over the OBC means reality.

Finally – even the risible DWP figures of the OBC hitting 113,000 more households will mean some 375,000 more children at acute imminent risk of eviction and homelessness as the average number of children affected per household is, statistically, 3.1 per household.  So when my detailed complex modelling that said it will affect over 190,000 more households just outside of London which alone gives over 600,000 more children in households with an average housing benefit cut of £76 per week and five times the bedroom tax average cut you can see that 500,000 more children made homeless is a very cautious figure indeed.

CHILDREN for f*cks sake!





** Strange that a final figure has never been reported on the actual size of the DWP pre 1996 cock up  and the last I heard was Chris Bryant MP received a figure of over 32% from 60% or so of English local councils suggesting well in excess of 40,000. If I have missed a final figure can somebody let me know














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