Minister 'worried' about housing benefit cap
Children’s minister Sarah Teather has voiced concern about the impact the coalition government’s housing benefit caps will have on thousands of families.
The Liberal Democrat minister revealed her concerns during a question and answer session at an event hosted by the Family and Parenting Institute this week (Wednesday).
Ms Teather voiced support for the principle behind the government’s benefit reforms including the introduction of a universal credit, of removing benefit claimants’ disincentives to get into work.
But she said this should not come at the expense of the estimated 50,000 families who will be negatively affected by a £500-a-week cap on all benefits.
‘If you are asking me if I am worried about the level that the cap is set at, yes, I am extremely worried,’ she said.
Inside Housing reported in October that the cap would leave some large families with less than £70 a week to fund their housing.
A source from the Department for Education said: ‘She [Teather] takes very seriously her role as a minister for children and in terms of the impact [of the benefit caps] on families, there’s still more work to be done in that area.’
Helen Dent, chief executive of Family Action, a charity for disadvantaged families, said she was pleased that Ms Teather had listened to the concerns of her organisation and others about the benefit cap.
‘We’ve been warning that this measure is ill thought out and it will impact negatively on children and families,’ she said. ‘We’re really concerned that amongst other things, the cap will create housing transience and put children on the child protection register at risk. We hope the minister will now push colleagues in the Lords to put safeguards in place.’