Nearly 21,000 Scottish households hit by ‘cruel’ child limit policy
NEARLY 21,000 households in Scotland are deprived of a vital income due to the UK Government’s ‘two child limit’ policy, new UK Government figures reveal.
In Scotland, 20,740 households on Universal Credit or Child Tax Credit are not receiving payment for at least one child due to the cruel policy. Across the UK, this pulls up to 359,250 affected households.
Amazingly, 1,830 women across the UK had to relive the trauma of rape or coercive control in order to make a complaint under the ‘rape clause’, with 110 of those cases coming from Scotland.
The ‘two child limitation and rape clause’ policy was announced by former Chancellor George Osborne in his summer budget plans in 2015. The UK government has championed the policy which ends child support entitlement. the third child, saying she encourages people to think about “if they can afford to have more children”.
The “rape clause” is among the exemptions to the policy if a child is conceived as a result of rape. The exemption means a woman seeking payment must give details, reliving her trauma, if she is asking for a third or more child about how she was raped.
Religious leaders, women’s advocacy groups, trade unions and child poverty campaigners have all condemned the policy, with many charities supporting sexual violence refusing to act as third-party auditors for the UK government .
Campaigning SNP MP Alison Thewliss demanded the cruel two-child limit and rape clause be scrapped following new figures showing 359,000 households were missing out on living incomes as a result of the policy.
READ MORE: Child poverty rates remain ‘stubbornly’ high, Scottish government has warned
The MP for Glasgow Central has campaigned for the two-child limit – which limits entitlement to benefits to the first two children per family – to be scrapped since it was first announced in 2015.
Alison Thewliss, SNP MP, pointed out that the figures revealed that “the majority of affected households have at least one working adult”, “shattering” Conservative claims of “fairness”, and called the rape clause ” profoundly cruel and harmful”.
“Any government with an ounce of common sense or compassion would have abandoned it by now,” Thewliss said. “As well as seeing families out of pocket, it also deliberately puts women in mental and emotional anguish by forcing them to divulge horrific details under the rape clause, and has been found to impact the women’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.
“The Covid-19 pandemic shows that no one can comprehensively prepare for every eventuality. The social safety net should be there to support people, not to punish them.
“At a time when the Scottish Government is putting money in people’s pockets with progressive policies like Scottish Child Payment, the Conservatives are taking it back with hard-nosed policies like the two-child cap.
“There is no doubt that the only way to protect families in Scotland is independence.”