Benefit Cap inquiry launched


Following on from the reopening of its Universal Credit inquiry yesterday, the Work and Pensions Commons Select Committee has announced an inquiry into the benefit cap and how it affects British households.

The Committee, chaired by the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, invites written submissions addressing the following points:

  • The cap is intended to incentivise behavioural change amongst claimants and secure savings for the Exchequer. To what extent is it achieving that?

  • To what extent has claimant behaviour responded to the cap, through moving into work, moving house etc? What effect does the lower cap have on incentives, what are the barriers to behavioural change and how can they be overcome? 

  • Does the cap address high underlying rates of housing benefit and child maintenance in a fair way?

  • What are the consequential costs of the cap for other public spending, such as that by local authorities?

  • What are the consequences for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) and what impact does use of DHPs have on behavioural change?

  • Are there unintended consequences (either positive or negative) of the cap?

Comments from Work and Pensions Committee's members

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"Quite often when the Government reduces a benefit, the justification given is that it will incentivise work, and obviously encouraging and supporting the strivers is a laudable goal. People can escape the benefit cap if they move into work. The Government needs to be challenged to put much more resources in helping families whose benefits are going to be in cut in this way to know that there is an exit and one which they might be able to grasp soon."

Karan Buck MP, Member of the Committee said:

"The Government’s argument for the Benefit Cap is that it will incentivise work. Set against this is the fact that many of those affected have been found to be incapable of work. Neither does the cap reflect the reality of housing, even of homeless households. The Committee will want to look at the actual impact the cap is having, who is affected and how it interacts with other factors, from health to housing."

How to submit your evidence

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 7 April 2017.

Submit your views through the Benefit cap inquiry page

Turn2us resources

You can find out if you will be affected by the Benefits Cap by using our Benefits Calculator.

We also have a Benefit Cap guide which gives more information about what this is and how it works.

If you are struggling to pay your rent because the cap reduces your Housing Benefit or the Housing element of your Universal Credit, you can apply to your local council for Discretionary Housing Payment

You can also use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check your benefits entitlements. Even if you have checked before, it is worth checking again, especially if there has been a change in your circumstances.

You can also check whether you are eligible for a charitable grant or other support by using the Turn2us Grants Search.

You can get further details on all the upcoming benefit changes on the Turn2us Benefits Changes Timetable 2017.

Source: Parliament UK article: Benefit cap inquiry launched