UK Family Law Reform

Free information index

Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 12:59 PM
Subject: Email sent on behalf of Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP

Dear Mr Mortimer,

Thank you for your email of 30 June. The £500 per week benefit cap applies irrespective of the number of children in the family. That does mean, as you suggest, that larger families are likely to see a larger cut in their income. The 1% cap on benefit will certainly have a growing impact the longer it lasts. While they are hitting hard working families, the Government gave a £3 billion tax cut to the very richest people in the country last year.

Thank you for contacting me on these matters.

Yours sincerely,


Shadow Employment Minister

Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2014 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: Policy considerations.

Dear Mark Lancaster,

Please will you kindly tell me if these policies are legal or in violation of international laws on ensuring people are kept out of poverty?

Best regards Dave

Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2014 1:57 PM
Subject: RE: Policy considerations.

Dear David,

Thank you for your email. I understand that you have some concerns regarding the £500 benefit cap and how it will alter for larger families and I will do my best to answer your questions.

The £500 household benefit cap applies irrespective of the number of children in the family. However, the DWP’s Impact Assessment (July 2012) on the measure acknowledged the potential impact on larger families. The policy affects families that are both out of work and are either:

-Larger than average, in the most part with three or more children, and thereby receiving larger than average Child Tax Credit payments and Child Benefit payments; or

-Situated in high-rent areas and thereby receiving large Housing Benefit payments; or

-Both of these factors combined

Social security legislation requires the Secretary of State to review benefit levels each year to determine whether they have retained their value relative to prices. For most benefits annual uprating is not mandatory, but historically governments have exercised their discretion by increasing the principal means-tested working-age benefits each April in line with prices. Since 2011 the measure used has been the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In his 2012 Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced that increases in most working-age benefits would be limited to 1% a year for three years from 2013-14, as part of a package to deliver additional welfare savings of £3.7 billion a year by 2015-16. Increases in the basic rates of benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and benefits including Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay, will be limited to 1% a year, but disability and carer premiums payable with means-tested benefits, and the ESA Support Component, will rise by the full CPI (2.2% from next April).

Uprating by 1% will also extend to the couple, lone parent and child elements of tax credits and, for 2014-15 and 2015-16, to Child Benefit and the basic and 30 hour elements of Working Tax Credit (these are already frozen for 2013-14). Universal Credit (UC) earnings disregards and certain UC elements are also to be limited to a 1% increase in 2014-15 and 2015-16, as will Housing Benefit rates (subject to certain exceptions).

Kind regards,

Mark Lancaster TD MP
Milton Keynes North

-----Original Message-----
Sent: 30 June 2014 19:10
Subject: Policy considerations.

Dear Mark Lancaster

Please will you kindly tell me if the £500 benefit cap takes into consideration the number of children in each household & if not will it adversely effect children in larger families.

I'm also concerned that the 1% cap on benefits will make more of the 60% of people who work & claim benefits hungry & homeless all the time inflation remains above 1%.