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THOUSANDS of Cumbernauld residents could be affected by the UK coalition Government’s decision to cap benefit increases at one per cent.
Following a vote in the House of Commons on Thursday (8th January) evening MPs voted in favour of the Welfare Benefits Up-rating Bill, with a majority of 324 votes in favour to 268 votes against, at a second reading.
The vote now means that rises in most working-age benefits will be capped at 1% in 2014/15 and 2015/2016 instead of linking them to inflation.
The measure is aimed at slashing £5bn from the welfare bill over the next five years, although up to 700,000 Scottish working households could be affected by the move, according to Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
In Cumbernauld, at least 2,770 people stand to lose out as a result of the cap.
Using North Lanarkshire Council 2011 data from Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics, covering only Job Seekers’
Allowance and Income Support for the percentage of people of Working Age (16-59) claiming either of these benefits in each Cumbernauld ward it was found that at the very least 2,770 people could stand to lose out, although in reality the figure is probably much higher due to the exclusion of other affected benefits in the calculation.
The minimal number of people affected by the cap equated to 5.5% of the Cumbernauld populous, which stands at 50,773, according to the 2011 NRS ‘Small area population estimates.’
According to the figures, Cumbernauld South would be the most affected area of the town, as it hosts the biggest ward population, with 1,294 people affected. Abronhill, Kildrum and The Village is the second worse affected with 975 people standing to lose out. Cumbernauld North was the least affected ward, with 501 affected.
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