Scrap the ‘cruel’ and ‘callous’ two-child benefits policy, says SNP MP

SNP MP Alison Thewliss has today renewed calls on the Tory government to scrap its cruel two child limit in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits “once and for all”.

Leading a House of Commons debate on the issue this afternoon, the MP for Glasgow Central warned the Tory government is guilty of “hacking away at the safety net that a social security system ought to be” through its continued backing of the heavily condemned policy.

Alison Thewliss MP has led the campaign to scrap the two child cap and abhorrent rape clause and has repeatedly challenged DWP Ministers over the harmful impact of the policy on vulnerable people across Scotland and the UK.


The “two-child policy” prevents families from claiming Child Tax Credits or Universal Credit for more than their first two children, unless there are special circumstances.

In addition, the policy requires claimants whose third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape to prove this to social workers or health professionals in order to qualify for an exemption – known as the ‘rape clause’.

SNP launch campaign against tax credits ‘rape clause’. Photo Credit: SNP/Alison Thewliss MP.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said: “It is staggering that more than three years on from when the two child cap and rape clause was introduced in the 2015 Budget, we still find ourselves in the position where the Tory government is defending this callous policy through thick and thin.

“No humane government would propose such a policy, which limits support to the first two children in a family, or that makes a woman prove she has been raped just to put food on the table.

“Cross-party MPs and organisations have repeatedly warned of the damaging impact this policy is having on women and vulnerable people across the UK. It’s high time the cruel two-child limit in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits is reversed once and for all.

“This Tory government is hacking away at the safety net that a social security system ought to be – there for each and every one of us when we need it.

“The two child limit has already affected 73,530 households up to April 2018. Well over half of these households – 43,420 – were in work, so the claims by Tory ministers that this policy is about people on benefits making the same choices as those supporting themselves through work, is a fallacy.

“The organisation Refuge have also outlined the increased risk to women who have been victims of domestic violence as a result of this policy. The two child limit exacerbates the control perpetrators of abuse have on women and puts more pressure and risk on them as a result.

“The Rape Clause form states that women are not eligible for support if they are living with the father of the child – forcing women to leave before they can do so safely is incredibly dangerous.

“The Scottish Government has repeatedly called for the full devolution of welfare powers to effectively tackle and eradicate inequality and heartless policies at its root.

“The Scottish Government has done what it can to change payment schedules in Universal Credit, and to allow for direct payment to landlords.

“However, it should not be Holyrood’s job to continue to mitigate pernicious Westminster policies, and this position fails to recognise the remaining women and families across the rest of the UK who are affected.

“The two child limit is ill-judged and cruel, and the weight of opposition against it continues to mount. It has to go.”

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