Ministers announced this week (7th March) that local authorities will begin benefit cap roll-out timetable on 15th July this year.
With the exception of Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey, whereby the benefit cap will start on 11th April. All local authorities will begin rolling out the cap from 15th July, with the plan that by September the benefit cap will be fully implemented.
Ministers claimed that the cap has already had a positive impact on employment issues. In a statement released by the Department of Works and Pensions, they confirmed that 7,000 people who would have been affected by the cap are now employed and a further 22,000 have already taken active steps towards employment by accepting support.
Jobcentre Plus has been providing support to those affected by the cap and aim to protect claimants throughout the benefit cap process. Support provided by Jobcentre Plus includes: help to move closer, or into the labour market, money and budgetary advice, housing options advice, support to negotiate rent reductions with private landlords and access to child care provision.
Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, commented on the upcoming benefit cap, saying, “We’ve given people plenty of notice about the benefit cap coming in, and Jobcentre Plus have been working tirelessly to get people the help they need….I’ve seen first-hand that the benefit cap is having a positive impact and is incentivising people to return to work.”
However, the proposals have many opponents in the housing sector, who claim the scheme will lead to families being forced to move from their current homes and relocate elsewhere where rents are more affordable.