Nearly 50,000 low-income families caring for an estimated 126,000 children are at risk of serious financial hardship after being trapped for the first time by the lower benefit cap, official figures show.
Nearly three-quarters of those capped were single-parent families, three-quarters of which had at least one child under five. Nearly one in six single parents capped had a child aged under one.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children’s Society,said: “It is deeply worrying to see that hundreds of thousands of children have been hit by the new benefit cap, cutting the money needed to keep a roof over their heads. Our concern is that this will only worsen child poverty, which is already set to balloon to 5 million by the end of the decade. While we think it’s right that work pays, it is children who are bearing the brunt of the cap.”
Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “This was always a policy more about looking tough than enabling families to work or be better off.”
Chartered Institute of Housing policy and practice officer Sam Lister said: “We remain seriously concerned that the benefit cap could have a severe impact on the families affected, make housing in large sections of Great Britain unaffordable and risk worsening what is already a growing homelessness problem.”