Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 21st September 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what would be the level of the benefit cap, set in 2016, if it had kept pace with (1) inflation, (2) average earnings, and (3) Universal Credit rates.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

There is a statutory duty to review the levels of the cap at least once in every five years and this will happen at the appropriate time. The current unusual economic period with potentially counter intuitive and shifting trends will need to be considered in the context of any decision regarding a review.

The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. The Government firmly believes that where possible it is in the best interests of children to be in working households and the benefit cap provides a clear incentive to move into work.

The table below shows the weekly benefit cap level if it had kept pace with (1) inflation and (2) average earnings. To provide the levels of the benefit cap had it kept pace with Universal Credit rates is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Inflation

Average earnings

London couples/lone parents

£496.51

£529.06

London single adult

£332.67

£354.47

Excluding London couples/lone parents

£431.75

£460.05

Excluding London single adult

£289.27

£308.23

The earnings and inflation measure used for uprating DWP benefits have been used.

Inflation and earnings source: House of Commons, Benefit Uprating 2022/23, Table 5 (February 2022).

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