There is strong British support for the idea of capping housing benefit to £400 a week for a four-bedroomed house, although the public is largely split over whether cuts to welfare benefits in general are too harsh, our poll shows.
- 75% of Britons support imposing a maximum claim limit of £400 housing benefit a week, even if this means people are forced to move house to somewhere cheaper
- 14% would oppose this cap
- Thinking about welfare cuts generally, 28% of people think that the cuts are too large, 27% say they are not large enough, 26% think they are just about right and 18% don’t know
We also asked the public about the European Union (EU) benefit system, in which citizens of the EU are entitled to claim benefits in other EU countries if they go to live there.
- 56% of the British public say that EU citizens should not be entitled to claim benefits in other EU countries
- 30% think that they should
- Opinion in Scotland was noticeably more divided than in other British regions, with 40% thinking that EU citizens should be entitled to claim and 46% thinking that they shouldn’t
‘I don’t think that’s fair’
The results come in light of the planned changes to housing benefit, set to come into effect in April 2012, while the right of EU immigrants to claim UK benefit if living in this country may come under renewed scrutiny as a recent report shows that EU immigration to Britain is up 21%.
Referring to the housing benefit plans for which he has received some criticism, Prime Minister David Cameron defended the proposal, saying, ‘Constituents working hard to give benefits so people can live in homes they couldn't even dream of? I don't think that's fair.’