Iain Duncan Smith defends £500-a-week benefits cap being rolled out across Britain on Monday

Mr Duncan Smith said the cap will change culture of families 'finding it easy to stay out of work on taxpayers benefits'

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has spoken out to defend the new benefits cap of £500 a week being rolled out across Britain on Monday.

The benefits cuts  has already been implemented in the London boroughs of Haringey, Enfield, Croydon and Bromley since April this year.

Sanctions on Job Seekers Allowance and the introduction of the so-called 'bedroom tax' will come into effect immediately.

The new welfare measures, which Mr Duncan Smith argues is based around the income of an average household, will ensure couples and lone parents do not receive more than £500 a week, with single people limited to £350 a week.

Mr Duncan Smith said a "very, very significant number" of people had gone out to work in households within the four London boroughs already affected by the cap.

"In fact, what the Jobcentre staff have told us as we have been going round is that they have seen a genuine increase since they have alerted people to the fact that they are likely to be in the cap," he told BBC Breakfast.

He added: "This is both about saving money and, more particularly, about changing a culture that had left families, particularly large families, finding it easy and a reality for their lives to stay out of work on taxpayers' benefits."

He also rejected suggestions that jobs were not available for claimants who wanted to go back to work.

"The private sector has been providing jobs. Every week something like half a million new jobs are in the jobcentres and out in the universal job match that we have now produced," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"I believe that we are already seeing people go back to work who were not going to go back to work until they were informed of the cap. I believe that this will show, as we go forward, that people who were not seeking work are now seeking work because that is the way to avoid the cap."

He hit back at presenter John Humphrys who challenged him over comments by the leader of Haringey Council, who said that 740 families in the borough had been severely financially disadvantaged by the cap but only 34 family members had found work.

He accused Mr Humphrys and the BBC of "seeking out lots of little cases from people who are politically motivated to say that this is wrong," he said, something he argued the BBC "always" does.

"The key principle behind this all over the country is that those who work, those who are trying to do the best in their households, do not see others who are down the road, who are on benefits, on welfare, actually getting more than they do," he said.

Mr Duncan Smith said the "greatest effect" of the benefits cap would occur within London and the South East.

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of the Children's Society, accused the Government of trying to use a “blunt instrument” to solve a complex problem.

“The debate around this cap has focused solely on workless adults, but the reality is that children are seven times more likely than adults to lose out,” he said.

“140,000 children, compared to 60,000 adults, will pay the price as parents have less to spend on food, clothing and rent.

“And almost half the adults affected will have children aged four or younger, and would find it extremely difficult to be in work, even if they could afford childcare which can cost as much as £100 per child per week.

"Families, especially in London where the cap is being launched, will have their lives disrupted as they are forced to find cheaper rents in other parts of the country, resulting in children having to leave behind their schools, friends and breaking vital support networks.

"We fully support efforts to make work pay.

“But it is not right to do this by putting more children on the breadline. Instead, the Government should do more to help families by tackling the sky high rents in some parts of the UK and making childcare affordable.”

Disability Living Allowance, the Personal Independence Payment and other benefits such as widower's pensions will not be subjected to the cap.

The Department for Work and Pensions argue that these measures will save £110million a year. The cap is not yet law in Northern Ireland.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Email Marketing Services

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders