Tuesday, 06 October 2015

Peer tables amendment for benefit cap exemption

A Labour peer has called for the total benefits cap to not apply in cases where it puts a person at risk of homelessness.

Lord William McKenzie, has tabled an amendment to the Welfare Reform Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords on Monday. The bill seeks to cap total housing benefits in line with the average estimated earnings for working households.

Lord McKenzie’s amendment would exempt individuals or couples from the proposed £26,000 household benefit cap who ‘as a result of the benefit cap, the relevant local authority would consider threatened with homeless and in priority need, or are owed a duty to be provided with interim or temporary accommodation.’

The amendment is one of several tabled by peers concerned about the fairness of the cap as it stands.

Other amendments tabled seek to:

  • exclude child benefit from the total benefits cap
  • introduce a 26-week period grace period once a claimants benefits exceed the cap
  • exclude claimants entitled to a carer’s allowance
  • exclude people in temporary accommodation

The government has already suffered a defeat over plans to reduce housing benefit for underoccupying social housing tenants and has lost three votes on plans to restrict Employment and Support Allowance.

Number 10 confirmed this week that the government will seek to overturn all amendments to the bill.

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