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Social Security Benefits: Lone Parents

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th December 2017.

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Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he will consider immediately exempting from the benefit cap lone parents with children aged under two, in accordance with the verdict delivered by the High Court on 22 June 2017 in the case of DA and others v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Photo of Frank Field Frank Field Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to provide an update on his Department's appeal against the High Court ruling of June 2017 in the case of DA and others v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

DWP took the case of DA and others v. the Secretary of State to the Court of Appeal; it was important that we did so and we now await the judgment. Nothing changes and the benefit cap remains as it is while we await the outcome of the appeal.

Many parents with young children are employed, which we encourage as it’s the best way to raise living standards. The benefit cap incentivises work, even if it’s part-time, as anyone eligible for working tax credits or the equivalent under Universal Credit, is exempt. Even with the cap, lone parents can still receive benefits up to the equivalent salary of £25,000, or £29,000 in London and we have made Discretionary Housing Payments available to people who need extra help.

There is help available for childcare costs for children of any age. Claimants can recover up to 70% of their eligible childcare costs through working tax credits, or 85% of those costs through Universal Credit (in each case, up to a cap). Further assistance may be available through the Flexible Support Fund. Jobcentre Plus staff can help parents to find work that fits around childcare responsibilities and provide intensive support to lone parents.

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