Coventry agencies are working together in an attempt to reduce the impact of a new Benefit Cap being introduced by the Government.
Up to 800 Coventry families will see a reduction in their weekly income affecting up to 2,800 children.
The Coventry Welfare Reform Working Together Group which includes Coventry City Council, Coventry Independent Advice Service, Coventry Citizens’ Advice, Coventry Law Centre, and Whitefriars Housing and the Partnership for Coventry have been joining together to raise awareness about the Benefit Cap changes.
Coventry City Council’s Scrutiny Committee will hear the latest details about the reforms to welfare benefits when the multi-agency group will presents the facts about the possible impacts of the Cap in Coventry.
Cllr Rachel Lancaster, who chairs Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee at the Council, is urging organisations to provide help where they can.
She said: “This Government’s decision is plunging around 2,800 Coventry children into poverty and it is absolutely vital that advice agencies are able to provide support to households.
“The Benefit Cap is a heavy handed policy by the Government. They will argue that it is about encouraging people into work but my concern is that it will just leave people in dire need.”
Alan Markey, Chair of the Coventry Welfare Reform Working Together Group, said that it was important that anyone affected should understand how much they stand to lose.
He said that there are steps that people can take can take to help reduce the impact on their household. He also pointed out that some families may be exempt from the cap; for example if someone in the household is getting certain disability benefits or Carers Allowance.
He added: “Hundreds of families in Coventry will be affected in the coming weeks. Agencies are hoping to speak to people to help them understand the facts and let them know what help may be available. We don’t want people having to make choices about whether to pay for rent or for food or fuel bills."
The Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee will meet to discuss the Benefit Cap on Wednesday 11 January.
The families affected by the Benefit Cap will be contacted about how their benefits will be affected by the end of January.
For more on the Benefit Cap and to find out about agencies who can provide help and advice visit www.coventry.gov.uk/benefitcap