David Cameron has been warned by one of his most trusted cabinet ministers that his welfare policies risk making 40,000 families homeless.
The extraordinary claim, in a letter to the prime minister from the office of Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, exposes deep splits at the heart of government over plans to cap benefit at £500 a week per family.
The letter, leaked to the Observer, reveals Pickles's belief that the cap – announced with great fanfare at last year's Tory conference – will increase the burden on taxpayers, because thousands of families will be unable to pay their rent and will have to seek local government help. It blows apart the government's public insistence that a limit on benefit payments will have little impact on homelessness and child poverty. » | Daniel Boffey and Toby Helm | Saturday, July 02, 2011