DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: VTR 3325
DATE 19 August 2013
Dear Bill Kruse,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received 15 July. You asked;
Mr. Duncan-Smith is quoted in today's Daily Mail as saying
"‘That what we are seeing, and this is the view of lots of people working in Jobcentres.
‘That they are getting people who were notified of the cap, their belief - this is advisers, they
talk to me., I have been out on the ground, I have seen it myself, I talk to people actually in the
Jobcentres - our belief generally is that they are going to seek work where they might not have
I'm assuming when he says advisers he means claimant advisers here, am I correct?
Assuming I'm right, can I ask how many advisers Mr Duncan-Smith has discussed this subject
with, in which job centres please, and on which dates? How many of them have informed him
that people are seeking work subsequent to being informed about the coming OBC? Can you
further advise me of why these people (the claimants) who presumably were not seeking work
before they were informed about the benefit cap, were allowed to continue claiming JSA? If
they weren't actively seeking work, and the claimant advisers knew this, how could it be they
were still claiming JSA at all? I assume they must have been claiming in order for the claimant
advisers to have noticed the change in their attitude, from not actively seeking work to
suddenly actively seeking work, am I right?
Can I also ask if he's basing policy entirely around anecdotal evidence of this nature that only
he seems privy too, or is there some empirical core to DWP policy regarding the benefit cap? If
so, might I ask what that empirical evidence actually is please? Where are the actual figures
showing how many people have actively sought work and gone back to work as a direct
consequence of having been informed of the incoming OBC?
The following table provides details of the Jobcentre Plus offices the Secretary of State has
visited since May 2012 when Jobcentre Plus started writing to claimants to advise them they
may be affected by the benefit cap. We have no record of the offices at which the issue of the
benefit cap was discussed but at all these visits he met with a variety of members of staff,
including advisers, and discussed a range of issues that they raised with him.
Jobcentre Plus Office
18 May 2012
Wellingborough Benefit Centre
15 June 2012
29 June 2012
Bootle Benefit Centre
4 July 2012
13 July 2012
Basildon Benefit Centre
1 August 2012
19 September 2012
18 October 2012
Hull Benefit Centre
12 November 2012
24 January 2013
28 February 2013
Ashton under Lyne JCP
27 March 2013
2 April 2013
Stratford Benefit Centre
London Bridge JCP
25 April 2013
11 July 2013
You have asked why those claimants who have said they were not looking for work before
being informed of the benefit cap’s introduction were allowed to continue to claim Jobseeker’s
Allowance. I can clarify that not all claimants who might be affected by the benefit cap will be
in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, and therefore it will not have been a requirement for all to
be actively seeking work as a condition of their entitlement to benefit.
With regard to the evidence underpinning our decision to introduce the benefit cap, the
Department for Work and Pension has published a number of Impact Assessments to support
the development of the benefit cap policy. The latest was published on 16th July 2012 and can
be found at:
The Impact Assessments include our estimates of the potential effects of the benefit cap.
These were made using the Department’s administrative records and contain the amounts of
benefit to which households are entitled, including Child Benefit, and Child Tax Credit which
are paid by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
Since the publication of the latest impact assessment we have continued to review our
estimates of the cap’s possible impacts. Our latest estimate of the number of households who
might be affected by the benefit cap was published in April 2013, and this can be found at:
Our estimates assume that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and they will
not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for Working Tax Credit, renegotiate
their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation.
The Department has made extensive contacts with households who are likely to be affected by
the cap and we are offering advice and support through Jobcentre Plus, including, where
appropriate, early access to the Work Programme before the cap is introduced.
On 7th August the department released data that shows that since May 2012, of the families it
has contacted because they may be affected by the benefit cap:
Jobcentre Plus has helped around 14,000 claimants into work; and
Approximately 34,500 people have accepted an offer of employment support.
These individuals had been identified on Departmental systems to enable additional resource
to be targeted at those in potentially capped households and to monitor their response.
Whilst many claimants will have received support from the Department in the past, since May
2012 Jobcentre Plus has targeted extra support on this specific group of people to help them
find and stay in work.
The figures for claimants moving into work cover all of those who were identified as potentially
being affected by the benefit cap who entered work. The statistics are not intended to show
causation or the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of Jobcentre Plus support.
These statistics and more information on the benefit cap are available at:
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
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