Mother of eight moans of being 'forced to work' by new benefit cap

But charities say it really does go too far


A mother of eight receiving more than £2,000 in benefits each month has said she's outraged at the idea of being forced to work.

Marie Buchan, of Selly Oak in Birmingham, says that new plans to reduce the benefits cap will leave her £58 a week worse off, and means her family will be struggling to survive.

But, she says, she shouldn't be expected to take a job. "I have an appointment with the Jobcentre next week and it will be my first ever job," she tells the Daily Mail. "I am being forced into work."

In the past, she says, she did try taking a cleaning job, but packed it in because she couldn't get her children ready for school.

Ms Buchan's comments come as David Cameron reveals plans to slash the benefit cap still further, from £26,000 to just £23,000, if the Conservatives win the next election.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: "The benefit cap has been a success. It's got a lot of people back to work. People said it would have all sorts of bad consequences – it hasn't. It's actually caused a stampede to the job centre."

It's not a view shared by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, though, which recently used the Department for Work and Pensions' own figures to show that "the large majority of affected claimants responded neither by moving into work nor by moving house."

Ms Buchan, 33, says she believes the goverment has gone to far with the introduction of the cap.

"I think you are going to get similar cases as to what happened with the bedroom tax - people taking their own life due to the financial pressures they are feeling," she says. "It will hit people that hard."

And she may have a point. While few will have much sympathy with her own complaints, there's no doubt that the cap will harm many people that don't deserve it.

"Annual household welfare cap cut by £3,000 year would be a cruel attack on living standards of poorest families," comments children's charity Barnado's on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, says lowering the cap "would pile on the misery for working and non-working families already struggling to pay for absolute basics."

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