People ‘pushed towards homelessness’ by benefit caps in Kensington and Chelsea

Benefit caps hit hundreds of families in Kensington and Chelsea over the past six years, figures show, writes Alex Shaw.

Charities warned the caps have added to the misery of families teetering on the poverty line, with most of those affected having children.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show that 1,521 families had their housing benefits capped in Kensington and Chelsea between the introduction of the limits in April 2013 and February this year.

Single parents accounted for nearly half of the capped claimants – 46 per cent of cases.

Greg Beales, the campaign director for housing charity Shelter, said that benefit capping was pushing people towards homelessness, with single-parent families disproportionately affected.

He said: “When your benefits can’t cover both rent and food you end up having to choose between the two.

Lone parent families tell us how they can’t afford to feed themselves and their children, let alone cover childcare and think about returning to work.

The system is entirely self-defeating.” Scrapping the cap, raising housing benefit rates and fixing structural issues that “push so many perilously close to the trauma of homelessness” would overhaul the system into one fit for purpose, he argued.

In London, couples with children are limited to an annual income from all benefits of £23,000 a year, £442 each week.

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