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The Impact of Reducing the Benefit Cap

In November 2016, the Benefit Cap was reduced to £384.62 per week for families. Official figures suggest that 3,642 households in Scotland will have their housing support capped as a result of the lowering of the Cap, compared with 745 households prior to
the change.

The groups most likely to be affected by the Benefit Cap are larger families and lone parents. 57% of those affected are lone parents with three or more children.

Early evidence from Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland suggests that following the 2016 changes, the Benefit Cap continues to have a particular impact on lone parents with several children.

Citizens Advice Bureaux clients have struggled to cope with the loss of income following the Benefit Cap being applied. This includes accruing rent arrears, being referred to food banks and experiencing relationship problems as a consequence.

Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes the increase in the budget available for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) for those affected by the Benefit Cap.

However, as the DHP budget will not cover the total losses as a result of the Benefit Cap, local authorities should look to make longer-term Discretionary Housing Payment awards to people affected by the Benefit Cap, covering the full value of the loss.

Rob Gowans
Publication date
May 2017
Publication type
Number of pages