A new cap on overall benefits will have a widespread and severe impact on almost 20,000 children living in around 6,700 families across Scotland, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) has warned.
The lower overall benefit cap comes into effect from 07 November. In Scotland, and other parts of the UK outside London, it will limit the total amount of benefits a household can receive from £26,000 to £20,000.
CIH Scotland has conducted new research which shows the cap will hit 6,700 families across the social rented and private rented sectors in Scotland. The vast majority of families affected are two and three-child families. Almost 20,000 children live in these households in Scotland.
CIH Scotland Executive Director Annie Mauger said:
“This new cap could put many families at serious risk of losing their homes and render housing in significant parts of the country unaffordable for those affected.
“The results of our research are extremely worrying. It shows that the reduction in total benefits is going to hit some of the most vulnerable families of all sizes across Scotland and the UK as a whole.
“Worryingly, our analysis shows many families could be one redundancy or a period of ill health away from being in this situation.”
Patricia Gibson MP added:
“Thousands of families, including many in my own constituency of North Ayrshire & Arran will lose out when the cap comes into effect. In many cases, they will immediately face a substantial gap between their rent and the help they receive to pay for their housing.
“I am seriously concerned that this could have a severe impact on these families, make housing in large sections of the country unaffordable and risk worsening what is already a growing homelessness problem.
“This is a measure which seriously risks undermining the UK Government’s commitment to make society fairer for families and they must look at it again urgently.”