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Kingston residents on benefits 'among hardest hit by welfare reforms'
Residents claiming benefits in Kingston will be among the hardest hit by the Government’s welfare reforms, a report claims.
A study by the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI) has ranked Kingston in the top 10 per cent of councils with claimants suffering the greatest average loss.
It suggests that by 2016, households claiming benefits will be about £36 worse off a week – an annual loss of £1,874 a year.
In total, £25m worth of benefits will be removed from Kingston residents.
The report, however, excludes the impact of other Government reforms such as Universal Credit.
Chessington resident Sue May, from the Christian People's Alliance, said: “This is yet more evidence that Britain’s welfare safety net has been devastated by the coalition Government’s reforms.
“As the report states, £25.1m in total is being taken from the collective pockets of Kingston’s poorest.
“When benefit cuts leave victims too stretched to survive, it is the council and local groups such as churches who are left with the task of stepping in.”
Mrs May warned the Government’s welfare reforms – which include the controversial bedroom tax and a weekly cap of £500 for families – will drive more people into the hands of payday lenders.
Kingston Council leader Liz Green said: “We are concerned about the people who will be hit by the welfare reforms.
“Although we can’t give the money back, we can help minimise the impact on families.
“We’re working with officers and Kingston Citizens’ Advice Bureau to help families with budgeting and what credit unions can offer.
“That’s all we can do at a local level.”
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