The Benefit Cap – Truth, lies and statistics

| posted in: Benefit Cap, FAQ, Welfare Reform | 0 Comments

The benefit cap came into effect across four London boroughs this week. Some two and a half thousand families across Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey will be affected. It will apply across the country from June 15. A row has erupted over this controversial policy, and the impact it is likely to have.

From my perspective working with a number of London Boroughs, I can see some great work going on to support families impacted by the cap. Lewisham in particular are doing some great work on the process of support, and have a lot of best practice to share. While the behavioural impact has not been made public, there are clear positive signs from all of these efforts.

The Lewisham Process
– contact households, check if they are exempt and what additional support they need.
– illustrate to them the impact of the benefit changes using the benefit cap calculator and engage the family in the job search process.
– create and enforce a client led action plan, using behavioural principles, to maximise the chances of the household finding work.
There is a valid point being made by both sides, Jonathan’s point is about the proper use of statistics, while the DWP are trying to highlight all of the support that is going to supporting people into work. Policy in Practice has seen (and supported) first hand the work by local authorities, Jobcentre’s and their partners. The early results from these efforts seem to support the DWPs interpretation – I hope the numbers to support this are made publicly available as early as possible.
The great news is that Lewisham are evaluating the benefit cap project, so the numbers that show the impact is is having should become available and both sides of the argument should be happy.

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