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Opponents to benefit cap do a ‘disservice to the poor’, says CSJ Executive Director

Gavin Poole, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, has issued the
following statement:

“Plans to limit the level at which households receive benefits – to £26,000 a year – form an important part of smashing through the welfare culture that grips our poorest families and holds them back from a better future.

“For many years workless families have been allowed to become trapped on benefits, as a result of ballooning welfare payments, in parts of the country where they could not otherwise afford to live. This has reinforced a message that welfare dependency is their only hope, and has written them off from progressing in society.

“The CSJ has been clear that the Coalition should ensure it works closely with families who need specialist help as a result of the cap, which it has promised to do in the next year before its introduction. Alongside intervention with the 120,000 most vulnerable families, and the new Work Programme, there should be access to the help households require and the time to protect those most at risk.

“But in their disingenuous claims about waves of homelessness, opponents in the House of Lords and elsewhere ultimately do a disservice to the poor by standing in the cap’s way.

“This cap is about fairness for taxpayers and life-changing intervention for families currently receiving more than a £26,000 in benefits. It will promote work – a household where someone works 16 hours a week or more will be not be affected – and, alongside other radical reforms like Universal Credit, it will remove a major disincentive to look for and take such work.

“Britain has been gripped by a worklessness crisis for years – the number of households where no one has ever worked doubled since 1997, and 2 million children are growing up in workless households.

“We do nothing for these families by endlessly peddling that failure. With the right support for
those who need help, this cap will ensure work is a realistic option for those stuck on welfare and who cannot afford to come off it. It can change lives for the better.”

For media inquiries, please contact Nick Wood of Media Intelligence Partners Ltd on 07889 617003 or 0203 008 8146 or Alistair Thompson on 07970 162225 or 0203 008 8145.


The Centre for Social Justice is an independent think tank established, by Rt. Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP in 2004, to seek effective solutions to the poverty that blights parts of Britain.

In July 2007 the group published Breakthrough Britain. Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown. The paper presented over 190 policy proposals aimed at ending the growing social divide in Britain.

Subsequent reports have put forward proposals for reform of the police, prisons, social housing, the asylum system and family law. Other reports have dealt with street gangs and early intervention to help families with young children.

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