Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 11 February 2022.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Labour/Co-operative, York Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what further poverty mitigating measures she is planning to support families who are subject to the benefits cap.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

This Government is wholly committed to supporting people on lower incomes through a range of measures, including by spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

With around 1.25 million vacancies across the UK our focus is firmly on supporting people into and to progress in work as this is the best way to substantially reduce the risks of poverty. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has been expanded by £500 million, is helping people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects. The new 'Way to Work’ campaign is a national drive to get half a million people who are out of work into jobs in the next five months and, in doing so, supporting people take their next step to building a more secure and prosperous future.

The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. Households can still receive benefits up to the equivalent salary of £24,000, or £28,000 in London. Exemptions apply to Universal Credit households if the household earnings are at least £617 each month and to Housing Benefit claimants that are entitled to Working Tax Credits. Households receiving disability benefits and/or entitled to carer benefits are also exempt to ensure the most vulnerable are supported.

Claimants that need additional support to meet rental costs can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment. In addition, vulnerable households across the country can access a £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund provides £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula applies in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million.

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