Only 18 per cent of those currently affected by cap have been assessed as capable of looking for work, MPs say
'Eight in 10 households affected by the benefit cap cannot work and should therefore be exempt, ministers have been warned.
The Work and Pensions Select Committee has called on the government to only apply the cap – which limits the total amount of benefits a household can receive – to those who are expected to be looking for work.
It warned that only 18 per cent of those currently affected by the cap have been assessed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as capable of looking for work, while 82 per cent of households cannot escape it.
These include single parents with young children and those who have an illness or disability.
“The government told parliament that the cap was meant for people who could work, but were choosing not to,” the committee said in a report on the benefit cap. “But in fact the majority of people who are affected by the cap have been assessed by the DWP as not being required to look for work, usually because they are lone parents with young children or have an illness or disability.
“A policy aimed at people who could work but were choosing not to is now being applied to single mothers with newborn babies and people with serious health conditions, who face significant barriers to finding work. This cannot be what was intended.”'
Read more: Ministers warned 82% of households unable to escape benefit cap