Since July no British household has been able to receive a total of more than £500 a week from benefits such as jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, child benefit and child tax credit.
This means no one should be receiving over £26,000 – roughly the average UK salary.
When it unveiled the scheme in 2012 the government said around 90,000 adults and 220,000 children live in households would be affected by the ruling.
But today’s figures, published on the same day as the Autumn Statement and delays to Universal Credit, show just 25,500 households have actually had their benefits capped now the policy is being enforced nationwide .
Reporting delays and grace periods mean this figure could creep up slightly over the coming months but it’s still substantially less than the revised 40,000 figure that was being briefed by the department of work and pensions last month.
The government reckons the difference between the predicted figures and the actual result is in part because the cap has encouraged tens of thousands of people back into work.
But Chartered Institute of Housing says the cap is also making many families seek help from other sources.
This table analyses which household has had their benefits capped. More than a third of the households affected have five or more children.
Almost half of the capped households are in London, largely because of the capital’s high rental rates. Enfield, Brent and Haringey were the worst affected areas.
That’s an income cut of over £20,000 a year.
The principle of no one receiving more in benefits than the average take-home household salary performs very well in polls.
And it provides endless shocking headlines, such as this one from Tuesday’s Daily Star.
George Osborne’s aides have previously floated the idea of reducing the cap if it proves to be a success and the move is popular with Conservative backbenchers.
Which is more than can be said for Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit scheme, which may not be implemented by its already-extended 2017 deadline.