Dr Chris Grover
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduced a benefit cap in Britain from April 2013. The cap applies only to working age people and means that, unless a household contains a disabled person (as defined by the receipt of particular disability benefits), it cannot receive from certain means-tested benefits more than £500 per week for households with dependent children and childless couple households, and £350 per week for single person households.
The benefit cap was introduced as an austerity measure by the Coalition government and was justified through a particular notion of ‘fairness’ that prioritises relativities between wage earners and benefit recipients, and which, therefore, suggests average wage levels should have at least some role in determining the level of benefits that people receive. In a recent press release the government announced that by November (2013) 33,000 households in Britain had seen their benefits capped. The Minister for Welfare, Lord Freud, noted that this represented ‘returning fairness to the system by ensuring that families on benefit can no longer get more money than the average family earns’.