Duncan Lewis

Ministers urge families on benefits to have fewer children

Date: (2 January 2013)    |    

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Triggering controversy, families with three or more children and receiving benefits are being asked by the cabinet ministers whether they can afford to have more children.
This has followed after figures suggested that an estimated 380,000 households with more than two children rely on the handouts to pay their rent.
Some 42,000 of these have more than five children, receiving on average £7,500 for their housing costs. And 190 families have ten or more children, receiving on average £10,526 in housing benefit.
Nearly 200 households with ten or more children are costing the state £2million a year in housing benefits.
Families with three or more children cost taxpayers some £2.3billion in housing benefits. The government has vowed to cut this back by imposing a cap on the maximum amount that can be claimed in welfare to £26,000 a year.
Official figures show that families with nine children receive more than £11,000 a year in housing benefit, or £925 a month.
The figures showed that 40,000 households with more than five children where at least one parent was on welfare was costing the exchequer £150million in child benefits and big families where one parent was on jobless or sickness benefits was at least £350million excluding housing benefits.
The figures were released by the Department for Work and Pensions under a Freedom of Information request from the Sun newspaper.
The figures were compiled of families where at least one person was claiming jobseeker’s allowance, incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, income support, employment and support allowance or pension credit.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith warned in October that families where no one is working could face benefit cuts if they chose to have more children.
George Osborne has ordered that the welfare bill be cut by a further £10billion, on top of the £18billion reductions already under way. The Chancellor warned that parents claiming unemployment benefit could lose child benefit, income support or tax credits if they had another child.
Despite triggering controversy Mr Osborne insisted that working families had to make choices so the same was applicable to those on unemployment benefits.
He said those who are working consider the financial aspect of having another child so those on benefits had to consider it too.