Three in five households who had their benefits capped were single parents (stock photo) (Image: Getty)

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A record 200,000 households are now being hit by the cruel Tory benefit cap, official figures revealed today.

Covid has more than doubled the number of families having welfare payments restricted as millions surged onto Universal Credit.

As of February this year, 200,003 households in Britain had their benefits capped – up from 77,716 in February last year.

Three in five households who had benefits capped were single parents, while 83% had children overall.

The rise was driven by a huge increase in the number of people on UC due to Covid, as well as a temporarily increase to the benefit rate by £20 per week.

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The cap limits a household's total annual benefits, including housing costs, to £20,000 a year or £23,000 in London.

It is meant to push families on benefits into work or a smaller flat – but millions have been unable to move or find a job during the pandemic.

And campaigners say it forces social cleansing in expensive areas because it mostly takes away people's money for housing, forcing them to pay more rent.

The Child Poverty Action Group said the average single parent hit by the cap loses £57 in benefits per week.

DWP Secretary Therese Coffey has refused calls to axe the cap
(Image: PA)

CPAG chief executive Alison Garnham said: “Thousands more households who have lost jobs to Covid-19 are now subject to the cap even though in the pandemic it is much harder to find ways to replace their lost earnings and become exempt.

“Especially in areas with high rents, capped families are losing large amounts of social security support and that is disastrous for the children concerned.

“The Government must abolish the benefit cap to prevent more children from being damaged by impoverishment.”