THE BLOG

Benefit Cap: Restoring the Welfare State Safety Net

27/09/2013 10:26 BST | Updated 26/11/2013 10:12 GMT

The benefit cap is now in place across the country.

This means that benefit claims are limited to a fair level, a maximum of the average working household earnings of £500 a week.

The taxpayer who funds the welfare state has the assurance that someone in receipt of benefits no longer has an income that's beyond the reach of the average working family.

The benefit cap has removed the barrier some people faced getting into work.

We are restoring the welfare state back to a safety net for people when they need it so it is no longer a system that can lead people further away from the world of work.

I must be clear, the old system failed people. If benefits provide an income well above wages, sticking to receiving state support over going out to work is too easy a decision to make.

Our reforms put getting into work at the top of the agenda.

Universal Credit will make sure it pays to work and the benefit cap ensures a lifestyle on benefits is not a lifestyle beyond the reach of the average household.

That is why alongside putting the cap in place, we made sure that people who get a job and are eligible for working tax credits are exempt. During the implementation of the benefit cap, Jobcentre Plus had a priority to help potentially affected households - and its joint work with councils to support those claimants continues.

The teams have so far helped around 15,300 claimants identified as living in potentially capped households into work and 35,300 people have accepted an offer of employment support.

Staff are reporting that they are helping many people into jobs who have not worked for years - and who had ceased seeing moving into employment as an option. But now they are working and setting a really solid example for their families. Their lives have made a change for the better.

Alongside this impressive work, we have ensured that households who should be exempt, such as people claiming disability benefits as well as war widows and widowers, have not been affected.

Taxpayers now know that the benefits that they fund are not limitless. As we look to the future under Universal Credit, the welfare state will actively help people to become independent while support will be in place too for those who need it most.