Nearly 50 Burnley families have their benefits capped by the Government despite not being expected to work
The cap limits the Universal Credit of households who earn less than £658 a month. Claimants will not be capped if they can earn more.
A total of 111 families had their benefits capped in Burnley last August, reveals data provided to charity Child Poverty Action Group by the Department For Work and Pensions. More than 40% (46) could not work due to health problems or care duties – often for very young children.
Child Poverty Action Group said the cap, which is designed to encourage more people into work, should be removed.
Alison Garnham, the charity's chief executive, said: "Our data demonstrates the fallacy that the benefit cap is a work incentive. How can it be when so many households caught by it are unable to take a job because of young children? It doesn’t incentivise work, it leaves children hungry.
"The Government’s position on the cap is incoherent. It must be removed before it harms more young lives."
Another 19 families were already in work, but didn't earn enough to reach the threshold for the cap to be lifted.
In Burnley, the benefit cap cuts the Universal Credit of affected families by an average of £190 a month.
The 111 families affected had 410 children, and included 88 single-parent families.
The Government plans to increase the benefit cap in April by 10.1%, in line with inflation.
A spokesperson for the DWP said there were now 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty after housing costs compared to 2019-2020, and that many of the most vulnerable were exempt from the benefit cap.
They added: “From next month, the annual benefit cap for a single parent will be more than £25,000 in London and £22,000 elsewhere in Great Britain. It balances fairness for taxpayers with providing a vital safety net and is designed to provide a strong work incentive, by ensuring that work pays.
“Many of the most vulnerable claimants - including those who are in receipt of Universal Credit because of a disability or health condition that prevents them from working - are exempt from the cap.”