£61,000 benefits for 190 families

Jobcentre Plus signAlmost 200 jobless families with 10 or more children under 18 have received more than £60,000 a year in benefits, Government figures have revealed.

Data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released under Freedom of Information guidelines showed that in May 2010 there were more than 190 such families, eligible for the £60,000 annual state support, on benefits.
This equates to a total cost of approximately £12 million a year, according to the figures.

Of the 190 families, 30 had 11 children under 18, while 20 had 12 children under 18.

The DWP figures stated a workless family with 10 children under the age of 18 could receive around £1,177 a week in benefits if they were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Child Benefit at the 2011/12 benefit rates - equivalent to around £61,000 a year.

The Welfare Reform Bill currently being debated in the House of Lords proposes bringing in a cap limiting the maximum amount of benefits that a family could receive to £26,000 a year (£500 per week).

It also sets out the introduction in 2013 of a Universal Credit to replace the existing range of means-tested benefits and tax credits.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: "Labour left our welfare system in a sorry state, with too many people better off out of work and on benefits than if they entered the working world.

"It's not fair that benefit claimants can receive higher incomes than families who are in work - in some cases more than double the average household income.

"That's why we're introducing a cap on benefits - to restore fairness to our welfare system while ensuring that support goes to those who need it."
© 2012 Press Association
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