Hartlepool MP warns new benefits cap is ‘a step too far’

Iain Wright
Iain Wright

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright says a new benefits cap on households is “a step too far” and risks putting vulnerable people in poverty.

The new lower limit comes into effect on Monday and will hit 5,000 families across the North East, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

New rules will lower the overall amount of benefits households can receive from £26,000 to £20,00 for homes outside of London.

Mr Wright said the change is already causing anxiety among constituents who have contacted him.

He said: “The impact of the new, lower benefit cap on vulnerable people in Hartlepool and the North East is laid out in stark detail by the Chartered Institute of Housing’s analysis.

“Letters telling people how much they will be losing out under the new rules are already causing anxiety amongst some of my most vulnerable constituents.

“I get a lot of people distressed about this possibility contacting me in a real state of alarm and anxiety.”

He added: “Like most people I think we need a caring and common-sense attitude to welfare and benefits policy.

“It should be available to help people in real need, hardship and vulnerability, but sanctions should apply when people swing the lead.

“This latest reduction is a step too far that risks impoverishing families and the most vulnerable people; the Government needs to think again.”

Terrie Alafat, Chartered Institute of Housing’s chief executive, said the new cap could put many families at serious risk of losing their homes. She said: “The results of our research are extremely worrying.

“These families will lose out when the cap comes into effect and in many cases will straight away face a substantial gap between their rent and the help they receive to pay for their housing.”