Tories to reduce benefits cap by £3k if elected

David Cameron will introduce a reduction to the benefits cap as soon as the Tories are elected, he said. Picture: PA
David Cameron will introduce a reduction to the benefits cap as soon as the Tories are elected, he said. Picture: PA
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DAVID Cameron has said Tory plans for a fresh squeeze on benefits if he regains power at the general election in May are a “basic issue of fairness”.

The Prime Minister has indicated that he would act “within the first few days” of forming a new government to reduce the annual benefits cap introduced by the Coalition from £26,000 to £23,000.

He said the savings generated would provide another £135 million towards funding three million apprenticeships by 2020.

With 100 days until polling on May 7, Mr Cameron rejected claims that the new cap would plunge more families into poverty, saying members of the public had repeatedly complained that it had been set too high.

“This is a basic issue of fairness. I don’t think a family should be able to get more in benefits than someone going out to work, working every day, and trying to do the right thing for them and their family,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

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“One the criticisms of the cap set at £26,000, which I have heard all over the country, is that the cap was set too high. We’re responding to that.

“We’re generating these jobs. People listening to this programme don’t pay their taxes to sustain people on welfare who could work.”

He confirmed that regulations to tighten the limit - which are expected to mean an additional 40,000 households seeing a reduction in state help - would be among the first priorities of a Conservative administration.

The maximum loss - on top of the effects of the existing cap - would be £60 a week, with an average weekly loss of around £40 or £25 for those newly capped.

Another £120 million would come from removing housing benefit from 18 to 21-year-olds on Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The rest of the £300 million-plus cost of the scheme - around £75 million - is expected to come from “benefit savings as young people move into work more quickly,” the Tories said.

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