Benefits cap could push 40,000 children into poverty, claims leaked DWP memo

The 'sensitive' civil service memo was sent work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith just weeks after the general election

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As many as 40,000 children could be plunged into poverty through government plans to lower the household benefit cap, a leaked memo has shown.

Families who could previously claim up to £26,000 in benefit a year, will now only receive a maximum of £23,000, it was announced in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday.

According to internal government communications, if parents are unable to find additional work, the policy will put 40,000 more children in poverty, the Guardian reported.

The figure would come on top of 50,000 children already below the official poverty line, although Ministers have claimed that the forthcoming employment and welfare benefits bull will deliver fairness for the taxpayer.

According to the “sensitive” document sent to Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, two weeks after the election, the civil service memo shows that "around 40,000 more... children might in the absence of any behaviour change, find themselves in poverty as a result of reducing the cap to £23,000".

Commenting on the leak, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “As the document itself makes clear, these figures do not take into account a key impact of the cap: that it incentivises people to move into work and improve their lives.”

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