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Tory U-turn on two-child benefit cap ‘doesn’t go far enough’

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The SNP has renewed calls for the UK government to scrap the hated two-child cap and rape clause – after the latest U-turn on the policy by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The call follows an admission by Secretary of State Amber Rudd that the current Tory policy is flawed and “not right”, and the news that the UK government will finally ditch the extension of the two-child limit to Universal Credit for children born before April 2017 – originally due to be implemented from 1 February 2019.

Alison Thewliss MP, who first uncovered the cruel policy in the then-Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget in 2015, and has led the campaign to scrap the two-child cap and rape clause, said Tory ministers were only tinkering at the edges with minor changes that “does not go anywhere near far enough”.

DWP HQ, Caxton House, London. Photo: Paul Billanie for Welfare Weekly.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said: “This latest Tory U-turn does not go anywhere near far enough.

“The two child cap and rape clause is still set to push hundreds of thousands of children into poverty and must be scrapped.

“This disgraceful UK government policy has been condemned by the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and a multitude of charities and welfare advice professionals.

“It is discriminatory at its core, and hits women and BAME families hardest – which the DWP is well aware of.

“Amber Rudd’s announcement is a welcome admission that this cruel Tory policy is deeply flawed – but merely tinkering at the edges with minor changes will not help the majority of families who are still set to suffer.

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

“The risk with what the UK Government is now proposing is that two classes of family emerge; those with third or subsequent children born after the 6th of April 2017, who will continue to fall victim to the two child policy, and those with children born before who won’t.

“Those families with children born after the 6th of April 2017 will still be subject to the two child cap and rape clause, and will still be forced to fight for exemptions to feed their kids.

“This will cause confusion and perpetuate unfairness.

“If the Tories are not willing to scrap this hated policy for everyone, they should devolve the powers to the Scottish Parliament so we can build a truly fair and equal social security system that meets Scotland’s needs and values.”

Jobcentre Plus sign.

Work and Pensions Committee Chair Frank Field, said: “What on earth were they thinking?

“There are serious concerns about this policy as a whole, but the retrospective element is simply inexplicable.

“The Government claims this policy is about fairness, but it’s hard to think of anything more unfair than taking money from families whose children were born before the policy was even thought of.

“It cannot be justified on any count and must never see the light of day.

“This policy is so cruel that I cannot believe the Secretary of State has knowledge of what is being done in her name.

“I hope our report will therefore be read by her and that the decision to make this policy of limiting benefit to two children retrospectively is dropped—and quickly.

“How can it be justified to limit support to two children when a third or subsequent child is already born?

“It would be wicked to push these children further into poverty.”

Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Comment from Frank Field MP added by Welfare Weekly.

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