A new cut in the benefits cap will come into force from today, in a move opposed by Labour as amounting to “social cleansing”.
The limit on what working age households can claim in benefits is being reduced from £26,000 to £20,000, and has been criticised by trade unions such as the GMB as “a monstrous new assault on 40,000 single mothers, which risks shattering the life chances of children up and down our country”. The cap will be just £13,400 for single people without children outside of London, with higher limits operating in the capital.
The cut was announced by then chancellor George Osborne in July last year, and will be rolled out from today, despite opposition led by Jeremy Corbyn and then-shadow Work and Pensions secretary Owen Smith.
Speaking at last year’s TUC Congress, just days after becoming Labour leader, Corbyn said: “We’ll bring down the welfare bill in Britain by controlling rents and boosting wages, not by impoverishing families and the most vulnerable people. We oppose the benefit cap. We oppose social cleansing.”
Commenting on the application of the cap, GMB’s national secretary Rehana Azam this morning said that almost two-thirds of those set to be affected are single mothers. “Just four months ago, Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street promising to fight injustice and to ensure every person regardless of their background would be given the chance to be all they want to be,” Azam said.
“Today she is unleashing a monstrous new assault on 40,000 single mothers, which risks shattering the life chances of children up and down our country.
“This has echoes of the staggering hypocrisy and chilling callousness that saw the victimisation of single mothers in the bad old days of the early 1990s.”