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Welfare spending cap "targets the working poor" says Citizens Advice

26 March 2014

Any cap on welfare must include all social security spending, Citizens Advice has said, ahead of the House of Commons debate on a cap on Annually Managed Expenditure (AME).

Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice Chief Executive, said:

"Capping only the few benefits selected by ministers means it will be the poor, sick and disabled who face having their support cut. The priority should be tackling the drivers of high welfare spending, like the dire lack of affordable homes, which increases house and rent prices and ramps up the cost of Housing Benefit.

"A guide on a limit to the cost of welfare is sensible, but leaving out large areas of spending is a mistake. A cap which deliberately targets support for the working poor and has little room for manoeuvre could put even greater pressure on low income families and has the potential to be very damaging.

"A cap has worked well in other countries when it has included welfare spending across the board and left ministers space to to respond sensibly to unforeseen events. It is short-sighted to lock the cap into law and restrict Government's ability to help people cope with economic shocks.”

Notes to editors:

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  5. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014  service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  6. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.