Hughes warns benefit cap will ‘break up families’
The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats has attacked the government’s plans to cap benefits as part of its overhaul of the welfare system.
Simon Hughes told members of the party in Liverpool on Saturday that the proposed cap ‘will break up families, as it will provide a financial incentive to be apart’.
Mr Hughes added: ‘Under the plans as they stand, a couple with four children will see their benefits limited to £500. But if the parents live separately they will be able to claim up to £1,000. How will that support families?
‘I call on the government to make clear, at the latest before the Welfare Reform Bill comes back to the House of Commons, what it intends to do to prevent the planned benefits changes from breaking up families and damaging the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of children.’
He told the BBC that, while he supported the principle of curbing spending on benefits, the current proposals were unfair.
‘You can’t penalise the families of a particular size today and say “this must be the limit”, no matter if you have one child… or four children and retrospectively say that people will have less money in the years ahead,’ he continued.
The bill suffered a defeat in the House of Lords late last year over plans to penalise tenants for under-occupying their homes. The government lost three further amendments to the bill in the Lords last week over plans to restrict employment support.