Whether its the right-wing Taxpayers Alliance or from 72%** of allegedly rational voters the stock answer to those about to be benefit capped is get a job like the rest of us! Yet over 86% of current capped households cant do that!
Earlier this week the DWP released the data on the current households who are hit by the £26,000 per year cap and WHO this affects in detailed in Tab 6 that I have cut and pasted below.
13.63% of capped households receive Job Seekers Allowance or dole and that means just 13.63% are able and ready to take up a job offer immediately.
The overwhelming majority cannot take up a job immediately for a number of practical reasons – and taking up a job is the only practical way to escape the cap cut of on average £330 per month that obviates homelessness.
Employment and Support Allowance (14.23%) is the new name for Incapacity Benefit which is self-explanatory in the main.
- To receive it you need to have an incapacity or disability.
- The purpose of ESA is that recipients are judged to be ready for work in up to two years AND IF they get some support.
- Yet two years will see almost £8,000 cut in their housing benefit and they will be long evicted before they could be ready for a job.
- Just 3 months is a £1000 average cut in housing benefit and why eviction is inevitable
To expect those on ESA to go out to work immediately can’t happen. So we see 14.23% of capped households and the children they contain (which currently averages 4.03 children per capped family) highly likely to be made homeless by the benefit cap and because they have an incapacity! Outrageous!
The largest affected cohort is those on income support which essentially means those parents with preschool age children who are firstly not expected to work.
- In order for them to be able to work an obvious practical problem is child care which is already in short supply and expensive and yet the government claim they have doubled it to up to 30 hours of free child care. This is superficial nonsense.
- The reduced benefit cap would need to see the capacity of child care increase to include at least 300,000 new child care places across the UK. I strongly doubt it will be 30,000 and probably closer to 3,000.
- Further, the nature of work today is often zero hours contracts and on-call type arrangements which also do not fit into the typical 8am till 6pm child care provision too.
- Note well too that preschool age children means an hour old baby and the benefit cap policy says Mum has to go out to work immediately or face the £330 per month average cut to their housing benefit.
- Also note some may take up seasonal work yet as soon as the Christmas and New Year rush is over they become liable for the benefit cap again. A huge number of households yo-yo in and out of employment which means they yo-yo in and out of the benefit cap.
In summary those lone parents on Income Support are highly unlikely to be able to take up employment immediately, and if they don’t they race along the arrears to eviction to homeless path with their children in tow!
The rest of the numbers above are relatively insignificant except Carers Allowance which now becomes an exempt benefit … as it should always have been!!
To get Carers Allowance you need to provide 35 hours per week of care (often looking after ailing Mum or Dad in practice) and to get it it means you are effectively not allowed to work. In short the existing benefit cap has hit 8.25% of all households when they have had no chance whatsoever of escaping it!
That is and always has been an outrage and especially when the carer is a job that pays £1.80 per hour for a 35 hour week (Carers Allowance is a whopping £62.10 per week) and without such family carers it would cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions if not billions more per year if family members did not provide such care!
In summary there are a wide range of constraints that prevent the overwhelming majority of capped households from taking up employment; constraints and practicalities which are well known and state the bloody obvious.
Yet no analysis of these issues has been discussed by DWP in its impact assessment (sic) or by the IFS research or by the CIH research and no that the mainstream media has found a story with this we find both ITV and BBC saying “you only have to work 16 hours per week” – which is a lie!
The lone parent has to work 16 hours per week to escape the benefit cap, yet the two parent household has to work 30 hours per week.
The constraints outlined above whether incapacitated or absence of child care availability et cetera are bad enough without false information being put out that assumes as a premise that all capped households can work.
It is 1 in 7 capped households who can readily take up employment yet 6 in every 7 capped households cannot do so.
Far easier to think and say why don’t the lazy bastards get a job like the rest of us isn’t it reader!
** The 72% of the public