Our analysis shows UK Gov Benefit Cap affecting 11,000 children in Scotland

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (31 Aug) published analysis showing that the UK Government's new Benefit Cap is affecting 11,000 children in Scotland, and has led to a 400 per cent increase in the number of households affected.

Alison is urging the Scottish Government to use devolved powers to mitigate the policy, in the same way that the Bedroom Tax was mitigated.

The UK Government's new Benefit Cap started to take effect in November last year and lowered the amount of support that a household can receive to £384.62 or £257.69 a week depending on circumstances. Alison’s report shows that as a result, 3,700 families have been affected, an increase of over 3,000 compared to the previous cap, with the average household losing around £2,000 a year.

Among the worst affected areas are East and North Ayrshire, where the number of households affected has risen by over 900 per cent. In East Ayrshire the number of households affected has risen from 17 last October to 173 this May. East Dunbartonshire has seen a rise of over 800 per cent, and Renfrewshire over 700 per cent.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"Seven years into the Tories' cruel agenda of cuts, we now see the terrible impact on children in our communities. By reducing the social security support available, while ignoring rising housing costs, the UK Government has pushed an additional 11,000 children into potential poverty and homelessness. 

"Our analysis shows that to mitigate this unfair UK policy, the Scottish Government could take the same approach as it rightly did with the hated Bedroom Tax, and use its powers over Discretionary Housing Payments to end the misery caused by the Benefit Cap. This would cost in the region of two million pounds a year but it would make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable families across Scotland."

The report, "Impact of Extended UK Benefit Cap in Scotland", is available here.