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Benefit Cap

February 1, 2012

Housing in London

Mark made the following contributions to a debate on the benefit cap.

Mr. Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster) (Con): I agree with where the Minister is coming from, but he should not doubt the sincerity of many London Members, particularly those of us who represent inner-London seats. We have deep concerns that some of our local residents will have to move. They will not be made homeless—I agree with him that we should not exaggerate—but they will have to move to other parts of London or the UK. However, all London Members have constituents who might be forced to move out of central London if they have a second or a third child because of the requirement for more space. Does my right hon. Friend think it perverse that the one category of people who are exempt from that is those on housing benefit?

Chris Grayling (Minister of State (Employment), Work and Pensions; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative) That is important. I said at the beginning of the debate that our amendments are not simply about money, but about points of principle. What we are trying to achieve with our reforms is to replicate in our benefits system the realities of the world of work so that people can move quickly from one to the other—we need to do that as closely as we can. Fundamentally, that is what the our proposals are about.

Mark Field (Cities of London and Westminster, Conservative) In constructing a regional cap, will the right hon. Gentleman ensure that no more money is expended than by having a cap of £26,000— in other words, that the regional pot will remain as it is? If we are to go down that route, will he also support the idea of regional pay and regional benefits?

Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill, Labour) I will come to the localisation of the benefit system, which, as the hon. Gentleman will know, we have had for 70 years in this country, when I set out how I believe our proposal can work in practice.