The Conservatives have been accused of “callously” ignoring the financial needs of many of the poorest families in society, as the Scottish Green Party call on the UK Government to urgently reconsider its cap on Child Tax Credits for more than two children.
The controversial two-child cap, which also affects families claiming Universal Credit, came into force in earlier this year and severely limits Child Tax Credit awards to no more than two children per household.
John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group told Alison Johnstone, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, that the policy is “undermining what we mean by social security” and could push an extra 200,000 UK children into poverty.
At today’s meeting of Holyrood’s Social Security Committee, Mr Dickie added that around two-thirds of families affected include at least one person in work.
Responding to his comments, Alison Johnstone said: “While the rape clause aspect of this policy has been singled out and rightly condemned from virtually every quarter, it’s worth remembering that the overall two-child limit will have a terrible impact on families and children across Scotland.
“The UK Government’s approach breaks the link with what should be a needs-based system. It callously recognises children whose families need financial support and then ignores them.
“Evidence to the Social Security Committee has shown that the two child cap risks increased separation of families, and it has prompted some pregnant women to ask for benefit entitlement checks to help them decide whether to continue with their pregnancy.
“The Tories should be ashamed of the impact their policy is going to have on people’s lives.
She added: “I can understand Scottish Ministers’ reluctance to use new devolved powers to mop up a mess created by Westminster, but if the UK Government is unwilling to listen to the overwhelming consensus of policy experts like CPAG that this will put many thousands more Scottish children in poverty, then the Scottish Government will need to look at what it can do through the new Child Poverty Bill and the new social security powers to offset the impact.”