MP anger as survey reveals more than 4,500 children live in poverty

Friday October 6th 2023

Owen Thompson Midlothian MP

Midlothian MP Owen Thompson.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Midlothian’s MP is calling for an end to the two child benefits cap as recent figures reveal nearly 4,600 children in the county are living in poverty.

Owen Thompson says the number of children living below the breadline should be a ‘wake up call’ for politicians in Westminster. And the SNP politician says the benefit cap and its controversial ‘rape clause’ must be scrapped.

The Poverty Alliance issued the most recent figures on children this week as part of Challenge Poverty Week, running this week.

It said across Scotland 250,000 children are living in poverty with 4,590 in Midlothian.

Mr Thompson said that while the Scottish Government had introduced policies such as the Scottish Child Payment, which gives families £25 per week for every child under 16, Westminster’s “cost of living crisis and the austerity measures risk that work being undone”.

He said: “Challenge Poverty week should serve as a wake-up call with these shocking figures revealing the number of children that have been pushed into poverty over thirteen years of Westminster austerity.

“On the other hand, the SNP Scottish Government is committed to tackling poverty, through policies such as the Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grants which have helped lift 90,000 children out of poverty.

“That is a record to be proud of. These achievements however are at risk of being undone as more and more families are consigned to poverty by Westminster.

“It’s time for Westminster politicians to commit to ending the cruel two child cap and rape clause.”

The UK Government has been asked for a comment.

The two child benefit cap was introduced in 2017 by the UK Government stopping families from claiming additional means-tested support for a third or subsequent children, worth an estimated £3,235 a year per child.

An exception to the rule is if a woman can prove a third or additional child was conceived as a result of rape, leading to it being called the ‘rape clause’.

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