The SNP Conference has called for the UK government to scrap the callous two child policy and ‘rape clause‘ after Tory Ministers quietly published the statutory instrument which would allow the policy to automatically become law without debate or vote this week.
These changes will come into effect in April – restricting tax credits and universal credit to two children per family and requiring women to verify that their third child was born as a result of rape before they can access their benefits.
Concerns raised in the Tory government’s own public consultation that the hundreds of thousands of social workers and healthcare professionals involved in assessing survivors of sexual violence will not have adequate training – have fallen on deaf ears.
Alison Thewliss MP has led the campaign to scrap the policy since it appeared in former Chancellor George Osborne’s 2015 budget.
Speaking following her topical resolution on this issue at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, she said: “Despite the cruel consequences of this appalling policy, and the sustained and vocal opposition from the SNP, the Tories in Westminster have refused to listen.
“What’s even more shocking is that, with just days until the policy comes into force, the UK Government has made no effort to provide adequate sexual violence awareness training to the hundreds of thousands of nurses, doctors and social workers who will be expected to judge whether or not a woman’s child has been conceived as a result of rape.
“If Theresa May’s approach to government is to railroad policy into law while dismissing serious concerns then this Tory government better get used to the sound of their own screeching U-turns.
“I will not back down until this horrendous policy is scrapped and I am glad to have the support of the SNP Conference behind me in this campaign.
“The cruelty of expecting benefit claimants to have to re-live the ordeal of a rape in order to access their benefits to help pay the bills and feed their family is undeniable.
“It’s time the Tories in Westminster started treating women, families and public service staff with dignity and respect.”
This an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).