Benefit cap changes could cost Oxford tenants £1.1 million a year

Published: Friday, 2nd December 2016

Two hundred and sixty five Oxford households could be hit as the Government reduces the amount of benefit a family can receive in December.

The cap limits the amount of benefit a working age household can get. If a household’s total benefits would be above the limit, their housing benefit is cut so they get no more than the benefit cap amount.

In November, the benefit cap was reduced from £500 a week to £385 a week for families whose benefits were already capped. Forty eight Oxford families lost up to an additional £116 a week from their housing benefit on top of reductions they had already seen.

From 12 December, the £385 a week benefit cap limit will apply to all couples and families claiming housing benefit. Single people without children will also see their limit reduced from £350 a week to £258 a week.

Councillor Susan Brown, Board Member for Customer and Corporate Services, said: “Two hundred and sixty five Oxford households are facing a bleaker Christmas when the government reduces the benefit cap limit in December. This is on top of the 48 families who lost up to £116 a week more from their housing benefit last month.

“High rents in Oxford mean that private tenants with two children will be affected. The City Council expects that Oxford tenants will lose £1.1 million a year from their housing benefit and that nearly a thousand children in Oxford will be living in families affected by the benefit cap. Sick and disabled single people will also be affected by the benefit cap for the first time.

“We know that this will be a huge shock to many and our specialist Welfare Reform Team has worked hard to help local people who are likely to be affected. Our excellent team offer advice and support and that can include temporary financial help to pay the rent. Any Oxford resident in social or private rented housing who is affected by the benefit cap or who is worried that they may be affected, can phone the team on 01865 252755, text on 07786 207664, or drop in to the office in St Aldate’s.”