New benefits cap will have ‘devastating impact’ on Sunderland families, warns city councillor

Coun Graeme Miller
Coun Graeme Miller
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A new benefits caps will have a ”devastating impact” on Sunderland’s most vulnerable families, a senior city councillor has warned.

The lower overall benefit cap, which comes into effect from Monday, limits the total amount of benefits a North East household can receive to £20,000 a year.

That will affect more than 5,000 families across the region, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has warned.

And Coun Graeme Miller, Portfolio Holder for Health Housing and Adult Services at Sunderland City Council, said he feared some families could even lose their homes as a result.

He said: "This is going to hit some of the most vulnerable families in our city particularly hard at a time when they are already struggling to cope.

"We’re doing our best to support families affected by the Government’s benefits cap by giving them advice on managing their money and what they can do to increase their income but there’s no doubt in my mind that this is going to have a devastating impact on those affected which could even result in some families losing their homes.”

New research concuted by CIH suggests the cap will hit 116,000 families across the social rented and private rented sectors in Great Britain, the vast majority of which are two and three-children families, by up to £115 a week. More than 300,000 children live in these households.

CIH chief executive, Terrie Alafat, said: "The results of our research are extremely worrying. It shows that the reduction in total benefits is going to hit some of the most vulnerable families of all sizes across England, Scotland and Wales.

"These families will lose out when the cap comes into effect from November 7 and in many cases will straight away face a substantial gap between their rent and the help they receive to pay for their housing.

"Worryingly, our analysis shows many families could be one redundancy or a period of ill health away from being in this situation."

* Are you affected by the changes? Call the Echo newsdesk on 0191 5017326.