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More than 260 households in Devon and Cornwall hit by £26k benefit cap

By tobymeyjes  |  Posted: December 08, 2013

Comments (22)

More than 260 Westcountry households which were claiming over £26,000-a-year in benefits have been hit by the controversial Government cap on state hand-outs since it was enforced earlier this year.

Families have been stripped of up to £100-a-week in state support by October as part of the Government initiative to ensure no household was earning above the average national wage in benefits.

Ministers argued the figures highlight its commitment to ending benefit dependency, however Liberal Democrat MP for Torbay, Adrian Sanders, called it “one of the worst things the Government has done”.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions, 265 households in Devon and Cornwall have been brought down to the £26,000 figure.

Nationally, 28,500 households were affected with the vast majority in London.

As the biggest local authority in the Westcountry, 95 households in Cornwall were hit by the cap.

In Plymouth 60 households were affected, in Torbay 41, as well as another 65 across the rest of Devon.

Mr Sanders said a number of people have come to his constituency office in real financial difficulty as a result of the cap and, equally controversial, bedroom tax.

“For many of the people it’s a temporary period in between jobs,” he said. “With rent rates, many face going in to arrears unless they can move to smaller accommodation.

“But given how hard it is to find properties, it’s impossible, they are going in to rent arrears, or council tax arrears, or heating bill arrears, arrears in everything.”

He said he was surprised by the amount of households affected by the cap in his constituency.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the Government has had to fix a broken welfare system.

He said: “These figures highlight our commitment to support those who want to work hard and get on and to end benefit dependency.

“The benefit cap means claimants no longer receive more in benefits than hard-working households’ average earnings and universal credit ensures being in work pays; making the welfare system fair for claimants and the taxpayer that funds it.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said 19,000 households potential affected by the benefit cap have moved in to work, with a further 35,800 claimants taking up offers of extra help.

Kim Goodall, a Jobcentre Plus operations manager in the South West, where 1,134 have been affected by the cap, said: “We've been working hard in the South West to help people prepare for the benefit cap. This started in April last year, and the results have been amazing.

“We've targeted help at getting people into work and supporting people who just didn't see work as a way to get on in life. It's great to see people's lives turned around.”

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  • dickwadding  |  December 11 2013, 1:02PM

    Witherspoons announced record profits last year selling cheap booze to daytime drinkers. 26k goes a long way in the afternoon.

    Rate   6
  • dickwoodhead  |  December 11 2013, 10:13AM

    Yes, even methadone, an opiate, is freely available from our welfare state.

    Rate   6
  • Ax0l0tl  |  December 11 2013, 9:55AM

    You can keep taking the drugs, but the drugs don't seem to work.

    Rate   -5
  • dickwoodhead  |  December 11 2013, 9:22AM

    We quite clearly live in the most generous welfare state in the world. It is a beacon to every economic immigrant who wants to better himself without leaving his chair.

    Rate   8
  • Ax0l0tl  |  December 10 2013, 11:36PM

    "most generous welfare state in the world" Good grief, who told you that one?

    Rate   -5
  • Ax0l0tl  |  December 10 2013, 11:32PM

    marxist stalinists????? What drugs are you on? Makes as much sense as Hitler Cameron, in other words no sense at all.

    Rate   -3
  • dickwoodhead  |  December 10 2013, 10:51PM

    It's funny how liberals don't like democracy when they find out they are unpopular omni. At least Nick's Marxist Stalinist's don't pretend to trust the ballot box. The thumbs never lie omni.

    Rate   17
  • omnivore23  |  December 10 2013, 5:10PM

    One man one vote hahahahahahahaahahahahah - yeah right. There are no followers Nick - just one Sidney dozens of names and the "ability" to clear cookies.

    Rate   -18
  • DrNikkiBedwel  |  December 09 2013, 7:54PM

    You naive marxist stalinists see everything in red and green. The arrows don't lie Nick, it's one man one vote away from your despotic idylls.

    Rate   5
  • nickthompson  |  December 09 2013, 7:50PM

    And if you and your red arrow followers truly believe that a multi millionaire MP charging tax payers for Mandarin lessons is a legitimate expense then there is not much hope for any of us.

    Rate   1