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IDS hails benefit cap 'impact'

More than 12,000 households have taken up jobs or stopped claiming Housing Benefit after being subjected to the benefit cap, the Department for Work and Pensions has said.

The households are among 51,200 which have had their benefits capped - at £500-a-week for couples or single parents and £350-a-week for childless single adults - since its introduction in England, Scotland and Wales in 2013.

More than half of the cases involve reductions in weekly benefits of less than £50 a household.

But the DWP said "a few" who were claiming as much as £57,000 in benefits - the equivalent of a salary of £74,000 - had lost up to £600 a week.

It is not possible to say whether all of the individuals who found work or stopped claiming Housing Benefit did so because of the imposition of the cap, but Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said that the figures suggested the policy was succeeding in encouraging claimants to change their behaviour.

"Our welfare reforms are, at their core, about supporting people off benefits and in to work - putting an end to the cycles of welfare dependency," said Mr Duncan Smith.

"The benefit cap has had a real impact in changing attitudes and behaviours. By putting an end to runaway benefit claims, and introducing a system which guarantees you will always be better off in work, we are incentivising people to move into employment. Every month hundreds of people affected by the cap are moving into jobs and gaining financial security.

"That's real people turning their lives and the prospects of their families around. It is a proud record of this Government's long-term economic plan - one that we are determined to see through."

Of the 51,200 households affected by the £26,000-a-year cap since April 2013, some 23,900 are no longer subject to it for various reasons.

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