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Joined: 09/03/2008

Cap on household benefit income from 2013<

Lord Freud gives further details, including that discretionary housing payments and support for childcare costs will not be affected


22 November, 2011


Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud has set out further details of the proposed cap on household benefit income from 2013.

Speaking during the fifteenth day of the House of Lords Welfare Reform Bill 2011 committee stage, Lord Freud confirmed that the government is proposing a cap for lone-parent and couple households of around £500 a week, with a cap of around £350 per week for single-adult households.

Lord Freud also confirmed that discretionary housing payments will not be included in the assessment of total benefits paid, and said that 'support for childcare through the universal credit will not be affected by the cap'.

In relation to concerns that families evicted for failure to pay rent due to the cap could be considered 'intentionally homeless,' Lord Freud said -

'Under homelessness legislation, if the only reason for the person's homelessness is a reduction in benefit that is outside their control, they should not be considered intentionally homeless by their local authority.'

In addition, Lord Freud said that the government was considering how to ease the transition to the benefit cap for families, with the provision of assistance for hard cases, and that no decisions had yet been made on the treatment of localised council tax support under the cap.

The House of Lords debate on the benefit cap< is available from Hansard.

anonymous (not verified)
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Britons' weekly spending was broadly flat in real terms last year, official figures have revealed.

The average UK household spending in 2010 rose to £473.60 a week from £455 the previous year according to a report by the Office of National Statistics<.

However once adjusted for inflation, weekly spending in 2009 was £476.

The poll of 5,260 households show that excluding mortgage payments, the main expenditures were transport and housing costs such as rent and fuel.

Households on average spent £65 a week on transport, a rise of £7 on 2009 levels. An increase in the cost of petrol and diesel was said to be the main reason for this.

Housing costs such as rent, household repairs, utilities and fuels were the second-biggest spending category, followed closely by recreation and culture costs.

Across the UK, figures from 2008 to 2010 show that households in London had the highest expenditure of £577.80, followed by south-east England (£523.20) and eastern England (£493.40).

Breakdown of weekly family spend in 2010

  • Transport: £64.90
  • Housing, fuel, power: £60.40
  • Recreation & culture: £58.10
  • Food & non-alcoholic drinks: £53.20
  • Restaurants & hotels: £39.20
  • Misc goods & services: £35.90
  • Household goods & services: £31.40
  • Clothing & footwear: £23.40

Spending was the lowest in households in north-east England (£372.70), Wales (£394) and Yorkshire (£405.50).

London households' high spending was partly due to higher housing costs of £87 per week compared with the UK national average of £56.90 per week.

Households in Northern Ireland spent £483 on average, in Wales the amount was £394 while in Scotland households spent just under the UK average.

In absolute terms, weekly expenditure reached a level slightly above that recorded in 2008 after a fall in 2009. However inflation rose at a similar rate last year.

"If you do make that adjustment (for inflation), then expenditure in 2010 is actually very slightly lower than 2009," said Giles Horsfield, a senior researcher at the ONS.

He added that the results were not surprising and reflected what was happening in the economy.

The report came as Chancellor George Osborne outlined plans to boost the UK economy.

On Monday, economic think-tank the OECD warned the UK was likely to slip back into recession as it predicted a 0.03% contraction in the UK economy this quarter, and a further 0.15% in the next.

Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King told MPs that growth would be flat for the next six months as the eurozone crisis threatened the UK's recovery.<

anonymous (not verified)
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The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says George Osborne's economic plans will mean a sharp drop in household income.

The think tank said real household income would fall by an average of 7.4% between 2009-10 and 2012-13.

The IFS said that following yesterday's Autumn Statement< by Chancellor George Osborne, the median average income was set to stagnate.

It expected it to be no higher in real terms in 2015-16 than in 2002-03.

The IFS said it was running out of words of sufficient strength to describe the current economic climate and the chancellor's plans.

Its director, Paul Johnson, said he was "running out of superlatives".<


Those in receipt of Benefits refer<<