Frank Field MP
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Benefit cap can not be a long-term solution

The Government announced this week that 92 households in Wirral have had their benefits capped.

The benefit cap limits the payment of benefits to £500 per week for a family, and £350 for a single person. It is estimated by the government to be affecting 28,000 households across the country.The payment of such staggering sums demonstrates the need for Labour to redouble its efforts on welfare reform.

Most people in Birkenhead face a cap on what they actually get from working at around half the level of the benefit cap. When the benefit cap first came out, voters’ reaction in Birkenhead was overwhelmingly positive.

But the benefit cap is only a sticking plaster. It is no long-term solution to get the benefits bill down.

Rent increases are a major reason for Britain’s escalating benefit bill. We have a chronic shortage of one bedroom homes in Birkenhead and landlords are cashing in by hiking up rents.

When demand for one bedroom homes swamps the supply, particularly following the vicious Bedroom Tax, landlords are seemingly free to charge what they like.

We should therefore be looking to deal with the source of the problem by massively increasing house building, which Councillor George Davies is attempting to do, for affordable rents and by capping rent increases.

I hope we will make sure people have done their bit in order to receive benefits and also be tough on landlords who hike up rents each year.
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