Crackdown sees benefits capped for 120 Hartlepool households

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DOZENS of Hartlepool households have had their benefit capped as part of a Government drive.

Capping benefits is a key part of the Coalition Government’s economic plan and welfare reforms and aims to create opportunities for hardworking people and fix the broken system, say bosses.

The Government says that since April 2013, 1,382 households have had their benefits capped across the North East.

The figure includes 120 in Hartlepool and 223 in County Durham.

Benefits are capped to:

• £500 a week for couples with or without children living with them;

• £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them;

• £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith said:“As well as restoring fairness to the system, and saving the taxpayer money, the benefit cap provides a clear incentive to people to get into work.

“Today’s figures show that the cap has led to hundreds of people breaking free from welfare dependency every week, and gaining the financial security and esteem which comes with a job and pay packet.

“That’s real people turning their lives and the prospects of their families around. It is a proud record of this Government’s long-term economic plan - one that we are determined to see through.”

Capping benefits means that no-one can claim more in out-of-work benefits than the average household earnings, whereas previously benefit claims could rise to the equivalent salary of £74,000 or beyond.

The policy was introduced in April 2013 and most recent estimates suggest that it will save almost £225 million over two years.

Over 55,000 households have had their benefits capped and, of these, almost three in five households are no longer subject to the cap.

Before the benefit cap, 300 of the highest claiming families got over £9 million in benefits every year.

Recent research showed those who would be impacted by the cap are 41 per cent more likely to go into work than a similar group who fall just below the cap’s level, but this trend didn’t exist before and 38 per cent said they were doing more to find work.