MORE than 60 families in Basingstoke have seen their benefits capped in the past year despite not being able to work, according to charity figures. 

The government capped the benefits received by 67 families across Basingstoke last year, even though they were not expected to be looking for work.

The benefit cap cut their Universal Credit by an average of £193 a month.

Charity Child Poverty Action Group said the figures demonstrate the flaws in the government's approach to capping benefits, which is designed to encourage more people in to work.

READ MORE: In the dock: All the cases from Basingstoke and the surrounding area

The cap limits the Universal Credit of households who earn less than £658 a month. Claimants escape the cap if they can earn more.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions show there were 189 families having their benefits capped in Basingstoke as of last August.

Of these, 67 of them were not expected to be in work by the DWP, either due to health problems or having caring duties, often for very young children.

Another 34 families were already in work, but didn't earn enough to reach the threshold for the cap to be lifted.

The 189 families affected had 510 children, and included 151 single-parent families.

Alison Garnham, the charity's chief executive, said: "Our data demonstrates the fallacy that the benefit cap is a work incentive.

"How can it be when so many households caught by it are unable to take a job because of young children? It doesn’t incentivise work, it leaves children hungry."

The government recently announced the benefit cap will be increased in April by 10.1 per cent. 

Cllr John Izett, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s cabinet member for finance and property, said: “The Universal Credit cap is decided by the Department for Work and Pensions and is administered by local councils. Many of our more vulnerable claimants are exempt from this cap."

SEE MORE: Budget: What to expect from Jeremy Hunt's 'back-to-work' statement

Cllr Izett explained that since April 2022, the council had provided more than £15,000 in discretionary housing payments to residents who have had the housing element of their Universal Credit or Housing Benefit capped. 

The council also provides financial support to residents via its Cost of Living Assistance Fund, which has so far paid out a total of £882,425. 

For more go to”