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DWP confirms benefit cap to be trialled in 4 London boroughs

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DWP confirms benefit cap to be trialled in 4 London boroughs

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing, Regulation, Universal Credit

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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed that the benefits cap will be introduced across four London boroughs in April.

Bromley, Croydon, Enfield and Haringey will be the first areas in the country hit with the change, with the cap being rolled out across the rest of the country during the summer.

The cap will see the amount people can receive in benefits frozen at the average earned income after tax and National Insurance for working households of £500 a week, for couple and single parent households, which works out at about £26,000 per year.

It will apply to the combined income from JSA, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, Child Benefit, Child Tax Credits and other benefits.

Certain households including those with someone in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or the Support Component of ESA and war widows and widowers will be exempt.

The Chartered Institute of Housing's director of policy and practice, Gavin Smart, said: "Today’s decision to move to a phased introduction of the benefits cap is a welcome development. CIH has been concerned that the original timetable for implementing the full package of welfare reforms was very tight, which did not allow for proper testing and adjusting of systems and approaches.

"We are pleased that the DWP has responded to our concerns – this should allow more time for effective testing and learning, increasing the chances of a successful national roll-out."

"However, this decision will also create a period of uncertainty for local authorities, housing providers and tenants who had all been expecting the cap to come into force in April and working hard to prepare for that. They will need to revise their plans in the light of this changed approach and we hope that the DWP will be able to move quickly to determine roll-out dates for other areas of the country."

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