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6 August, 2020 Open access

‘Unprecedented’ increase of 665 per cent in the number of newly capped households on universal credit in the quarter to May 2020

New DWP statistics also show 86 per cent of capped households included children, and more than half were capped by more than £50 per week

New DWP statistics have revealed an 'unprecedented' increase of 665 per cent in the number of households on universal credit who had their benefit capped for the first time in the quarter to May 2020, as compared to the previous quarter.

In Benefit cap: number of households capped to May 2020, published today, the DWP reports that the total number of capped households in May 2020 was 154,000 - an increase of 93 per cent from February 2020. Highlighting that this is the biggest increase in the number of capped households since April 2013, the Department says that this has been driven by an unprecedented increase of 665 per cent in the number of newly capped households (those whose benefit is being capped for the first time) who claim universal credit, a reflection of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic -

Newly capped households at each month, April 2013 to May 2020

In addition, the figures show that, as at May 2020 -

Addressing the exponential increase in capped households, the DWP highlights the increases brought in for universal credit standard allowances and local housing allowance rates in response to the pandemic, and explains - 

'[The] changes in the entitlement of universal credit accompanied with no change in the benefit cap levels would impact on the number of households capped under universal credit and the amount they have their benefits capped by. The impact of these changes would be reflected in these statistics.'

Benefit cap: number of households capped to May 2020 is available from