Campaigners hit out at “nasty” benefits policy

Benefits worries web

Figures have revealed 9,000 families in Scotland are affected by the Universal Credit two-child limit

31st July 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Thousands of families in Scotland are suffering at the hands of a “nasty” benefits policy, a charity has said.  

HMRC statistics have revealed, two years after the policy was introduced, that 9,000 families in Scotland are affected by the Universal Credit two-child limit.

The limit means the child allowance in Universal Credit and tax credits – worth £2,780 a year – is only paid for the first two children in a family. It does not affect children born before April 2017.

Poverty campaigners have highlighted the limit as one of the main problems with Universal Credit, saying it hits hardworking families hard in the pocket.

The figures also show 592,000 children are affected by the policy across the UK, with 59% of affected families working and 58% of families having three children.

Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland John Dickie hit out at the policy.  

He said: “Today’s figures are a grim reminder of the human cost of this nasty policy, which says that some children are more deserving than others purely on the basis of their birth order  - and which mostly affects working families.  Every child deserves a good start in life, and we would never turn a third-born child away from school or hospital.  How can it be right to deny the same young children the social security support they need to enjoy a childhood free from poverty when their family falls on hard times?”

Dickie added that the effects of the policy are clear. He said: “Our recent survey of over 400 affected families in Scotland and across the UK revealed the deep damage the policy has already done in just two years. 

“Parents reported more conflict at home – even between siblings – as money worries rise and older children have to relinquish childhood fundamentals like football club, school trips and swimming lessons so that nappies, baby milk and bills can be paid for. Many parents had to borrow money each month to get by, and several had considered terminations when they found out about the policy after they became pregnant.

“The two-child limit undermines family life and leaves children without support in their vital early years, when the foundations are being laid for their future development. The UK government should lift the two-child limit to help all children thrive. ”

CPAG’s analysis indicates that across the UK 1.8 million children are likely to be affected by the two child limit by 2023. Of these one million will already be living below the poverty line, and will be pushed deeper into poverty by the policy. A further 300,000 will be pushed into poverty by the two-child limit.