A STAGGERING 122 households across Cheshire West receive at least £26,000 a year in benefits according to government figures.
The statistics were revealed as the coalition prepares to introduce a £500-a-week benefits cap for families, or £350 for childless single-adult households from next April.
Ministers argue the estimated £51m savings will reduce the deficit and incentivise those on benefits to find work.
But critics say it will plunge tens of thousands of children into poverty. According to the Children’s Society, 80,000 children will be made homeless as families are forced to move out of private-sector rented homes that are no longer affordable
Cheshire West and Chester Council says the original list showed more than 190 households receiving at least £500-a-week in benefits but this has reduced, partly as a result of changing circumstances.
Council leader Mike Jones told Chester radio station Dee 106.3: “We have about 191 of our residents affected and that’s been reduced to 122 when our officers have gone to visit them and talked to them about how we can help them reduce the impact.”
Cllr Jones also told listeners about how the council will lose £2.6m annual funding from next April, when the government abolishes council tax benefit.
Instead, councils must set up their own schemes to help poorer people with council tax – but will only receive 90% of previous funding.
To deal with the funding gap, the council is asking residents if they are prepared to stomach a council tax rise or cuts in services to continue the current level of council tax support for the less wealthy.
The alternative is for all working age claimants to pay more council tax.