Sunak urged to drop two-child limit and ‘unspeakably cruel’ benefit cap | Benefits

Rishi Sunak has been urged to abandon “unspeakably cruel” policies in order to lift half a million people out of poverty.

Scottish National Party MP Kirsten Oswald has urged the Prime Minister to reverse his decision to support the two-child limit and benefit cap policies set by his predecessors.

Households with more than two children claiming Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit no longer receive additional funds.

It applies to additional children born after April 6, 2017, but exemptions apply to those who had children in a multiple birth or children conceived as a result of rape or coercion.

However, the exemptions have caused controversy because women must disclose that they have been raped to be eligible – the so-called rape clause.

The Scottish government is currently easing the benefit cap and devolved social security benefits are not subject to the two-child limit and the rape clause.

The latest statistics show that around 787,000 households in the UK claim benefits with three or more children.

Nearly half are affected by the two-child policy, with experts from the Institute for Research on Public Policy, the Trades Union Congress and the Child Poverty Action Group citing the restriction as the main driver of poverty .

A joint report suggests that abandoning the policies would reduce child poverty by 300,000 and lift 500,000 people out of overall poverty.

Oswald, who is her party’s spokeswoman for women and equality, said: ‘The new prime minister has made a big deal of his willingness to break with his predecessors and renege on key policies that clearly had an impact disastrous, and given the disgraceful record of successive Conservative prime ministers on tackling child poverty, he must be prepared to do so again in 2023.

“The two-child limit policy, with its ruthless rape clause, is the only one of its kind in the world – that says a lot.

“With the cap on benefits, which the Scottish Government will ease within its jurisdiction, both policies are unspeakably cruel and must go.”

Oswald said that no politics would exist in an independent Scotland.

She added: “Removing them in January could lift half a million people out of poverty before Christmas next year, or hopefully well before that.

“These two policies exacerbate child poverty and undermine our efforts in Scotland to address it.

“It would also free up money that the Scottish Government uses to shield people from the benefit cap in Scotland.

“I urge Rishi Sunak to make another U-turn and make the abolition of these policies the first thing he will do when Parliament returns.”

A UK government spokesperson said: ‘The latest figures show there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty after housing costs compared to 2019-20.

“But we recognize that families are struggling with rising prices and our priority will always be to support the most vulnerable, which is why we are protecting millions with at least £1,200 in direct payments while our price guarantee of energy saves households £900 on average. .

“The two-child policy means that families on benefits are encouraged to make the same financial decisions as families living on their own, including taking into account our comprehensive childcare package for working parents. and family allowances for all children.

“There are careful exemptions and safeguards in place in the policy to protect those in the most vulnerable circumstances.”

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