Government plans to limit Child Tax Credit to the first two children in a family has been branded “inhumane” by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who warn the cut could leave larger families with insufficient income to meet their children’s basic needs.
The controversial policy led to child poverty campaigners warning more children could be pushed into poverty, at a time when a growing number of low-income families are having to rely on food banks and the generosity of family and friends.
Concerns have also been raised that victims of rape could be forced to relive their ordeal to claim Child Tax Credit for more than two children.
Despite these very real concerns, the Government is pressing ahead with the changes that will affect all new Child Tax Credit claims from April 2017.
In a letter to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), the Board of Deputies of British Jews, supported by the chairman of The Interlink Foundation, say the cuts will be harmful to the finances of larger families, adding the policy contradicts Government claims of wanting to reward working parents.
“By every measure, parents in these households will be unable to meet the basic needs of their children”, the letter states.
“They will be trapped at an income level that is inadequate by a wide margin to meet their children’s needs.
“This runs completely counter to the Government’s stated intentions of ensuring that those who are in work are rewarded fairly, and is particularly inhumane.”
A DWP spokesperson said the department is currently consulting on possible exemptions to ensure the policy is “delivered in the most effective, compassionate way possible”.
The spokesperson said: “Our welfare reforms are restoring fairness to the system for those who use it and those who pay for it.
“This reform ensures people on benefits have the same choices as those supporting themselves solely through work.
“But we have always been clear that exemptions will be in place, which is why we are consulting so they can be delivered in the most effective, compassionate way possible.”