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GMB Accuses May of "chilling Callousness" over Fresh Benefits Attack on 40,000 Single Mums

Monday, November 7, 2016

Union points to Prime Minister's "staggering hypocrisy"over new benefit cap as new analysis predicts devastating impact on single mothers.

GMB, Britain’s General Union, has slammed Prime Minister Theresa May as new changes see the benefit cap lowered from £26,000 to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere.

The DWP’s August 2016 impact assessment of the changes, due to be implemented today, predicted that there would be 64,000 new benefit cap cases in 2016/17 due to the lower benefit cap. 

New GMB analysis of the latest Government figures shows that almost two thirds of those currently hit by the cap are single mums, which suggests that 42,000 single mums will be newly impacted by the change – bringing the total to more than 54,000 after today's fresh round of changes.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary:

“Just four months ago, Theresa May stood on the steps of Downing Street promising to fight injustice and to ensure every person regardless of their background would be given the chance to be all they want to be. Today she is unleashing a monstrous new assault on 40,000 single mothers, which risks shattering the life chances of children up and down our country.”

“This has echoes of the staggering hypocrisy and chilling callousness that saw the victimisation of single mothers in the bad old days of the early 1990s. Theresa May once said she would change the ‘nasty party’ but the mask has slipped again.”

“With the uncertainty of Brexit, there could be fewer well paid, secure jobs to go round - not to mention problems of access to nurseries with closures and cuts to public services. All the while food prices are going up – and the evidence shows that single parents were already skipping meals to provide for their children, even before this latest attack."


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at


1. Welfare Reform and Work Act: Impact Assessment for the Benefit Cap (August 2016)

2. GMB Analysis

  • Families currently impacted by the benefits cap (August 2016)

Type of household

Number of cases

% of cases

Male - no child dependents



Male - with child dependents



Female - no child dependents



Female - with child dependents



Gender unknown - single, no child dependents



Gender unknown - single, with child dependents



Couple - no child dependent



Couple - child dependent






The August 2016 DWP impact assessment says there will be 64,000 new cases in 2016/17 due to the lower cap. Extrapolating the current trend from the latest (August 2016) snapshot of claimants affected by the existing benefits cap, GMB estimates that there will be 42,000 single mothers newly impacted by the change - and 54,000 in total.

(64,000 * 0.6436770136740 = 41,195

(41,195 + 12,898 = 54,093)

Source – DWP August 2016 lower benefits cap equality impact assessment, page 2

“In a static environment an estimated total 88,000 households could be affected by benefit cap in the implementation year of 2016/17, 64,000 of them additional over the current policy.”

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