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Benefit Cap

Volume 578: debated on Monday 31 March 2014

The benefit cap is working. The latest statistics show that 39% of those who are no longer subject to the cap have since moved into work. We will evaluate the policy thoroughly, and expect to publish the findings in the autumn.

The average yearly pay in my constituency is about £21,000 before tax and national insurance. Does the Secretary of State think that a benefit cap of £26,000 gives people outside London an incentive to work?

The introduction of the benefit cap meant that, for the first time ever, people who were out of work could not end up with more than the average earnings of people who work hard and try to make their way in the world. That was the first stage of the process. Obviously, as with all our policies, we continue to look at it, but I currently have no plans to change the existing levels.

Given that Members in all parts of the House have now supported a cap on benefit spending, will my right hon. Friend tell us whether he has received any representations on how it is possible to promise to repeal some welfare reforms such as the benefit cap while at the same time avoiding a breach of the overall cap?

Interestingly, the Opposition voted against the imposition of the benefit cap, which they subsequently claimed to support. Last week they did a U-turn and voted for the welfare cap, which is the overall setting of the level of welfare. They plan to get rid of the spare room subsidy, but they have not told us where they will find the money. So here we go again: it will mean more money in taxes, more money in spending, more money in borrowing, and a bust economy once more.