Charities savage Tory two-child benefits cap

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Charities say benefits cap creates a morally unacceptable two-tier system

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21st January 2019 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

Charities have savaged the “disgraceful” two-child benefit cap - and have called on the Tory Westminster government to scrap the policy completely.

They say the cruel policy forces 150,000 Scottish children into poverty.

It limits the child benefit component of Universal Credit to the first two children in the family. 

In a letter to work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd, front-line services such as Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women's Aid, and Engender, alongside politicians, call for the scrapping of the two-child cap so that parents are not forced to make the heart-breaking choice of feeding their children, heating their home or falling into poverty. 

Last week, the UK government was forced into an embarrassing climb-down on the controversial extension of the two-child benefit cap.

Rudd said those with children born before the system began in 2017 would remain exempt, as she aimed to ensure it was "compassionate and fair".

Campaigners said the cap should be removed for all children as it creates a morally unacceptable “two-tier system” for families, with some receiving payment for a third child and some families forced to go without – depending on when the child was born.

A letter to Rudd signed by Scotish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Engender, Shakti Women’s aid and Zero Tolerance Scotland, as well as the SNP’s Alison Thewliss MP and Shona Robison MSP, states: “The two-child limit on tax credits is one of the most damaging pieces of welfare reform, directly harming children and young people.

“Your decision that the two-child cap will not be extended is welcome. Any reduction in the number of families and children affected is good news. However, the limit still remains in place for those born after 6 April 2017 – as does the ‘rape clause’ – creating a two-tier system for families.

“It is a grave concern that parents forced to make the heart-breaking choice between feeding their children, heating their home or falling into poverty. This policy also discriminates against a number of different groups, including children, children with multiple siblings, large families, and those with a religious or moral objection to the use of birth control.”

Announcing the u-turn over the two-child cap, Ruud said: "I'm making a number of changes to our welfare system to make sure that it delivers on the intent which is to be a safety net and also to be a compassionate and fair system helping people into work."