6,000 east London families get letter warning of benefits cap coming

MP Rushanara Ali

MP Rushanara Ali - Credit: Archant

Nearly 6,000 families across east London have been told officially that their social benefits income is being cut.

Some 2,220 households in Tower Hamlets alone have received letters notifying them of the benefits capping—the fourth highest number in Britain.

Neighbouring Newham has 2,160 households which have been told—the fifth-highest—while Hackney has another 1,630, the ninth highest.

Government figures revealed last night by an East End MP and Tower Hamlets opposition councillors show these families will see their weekly income drop when benefits capping comes into force in September, which Labour claims fails to take the high cost of housing in London into account.

“The benefit cap may actually end up costing more than it saves,” Bethnal Green & Bow MP Rushanara Ali warned. “Local authorities will be forced to cope with more homelessness.”

She is calling for a programme of job creation as “a better way to bring down the cost of welfare” which would ensure families are better off in work than on benefits.

The Labour group’s lead councillor for Adult Health at Tower Hamlets, Rachael Saunders, said: “The Government is intent on forcing destructive cuts on the most vulnerable.

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“It isn’t right that 2,200 families in Tower Hamlets alone are being penalised for the high cost of housing in London, while Cameron is giving a tax cut to the wealthy.”

Opponents point out that the benefits capping is coming at the same time as plans to give a tax cut to the better off worth an average £100,000.