More hit by benefits cap in Sunderland
Nearly 300 single-parent families in Sunderland have seen their benefits capped since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, new figures show.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures show that 438 families had their benefits capped in the area during February – up by 61% on the number capped in the same period last year, when 272 had either their housing benefit or Universal Credit payment reduced.
Of the households impacted this year, 295 (67%) had single parents.
Nationally, 200,000 households had their benefits capped - more than twice the 77,700 in the same period last year.
That included 166,200 households with children, and 117,200 with single parents.
The benefit cap limits the total income a household can receive from certain benefits, and currently kicks in at £20,000 a year.
The limits are lower for single adults and lone parents whose children do not live with them.
The Child Poverty Action Group wants the cap abolished and says households impacted are losing out on an average £62 a week.
Chief executive Alison Garnham said: "The benefit cap has always been an unjust punishment for families and thousands more households have lost jobs to Covid-19
Homeless charity Shelter said a government failure to review the cap had plunged many families into poverty and put them at risk of homelessness.
The DWP said a review of the benefit cap will be carried out at "the appropriate time".
A spokesperson said: "The benefit cap ensures fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and a strong work incentive, while also providing a much-needed safety net of support."