Two child cap: Johnstone urges rethink

Friday May 26th 2017

Alison Johnstone Green Party Lothian MSP

Alison Johnstone, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and Lothian MSP, has urged the UK Government to urgently reconsider its cap on Child Tax Credits for more than two children.

At yesterday’s meeting of Holyrood’s Social Security Committee, Alison asked John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) about the way that the UK Government’s reforms have broken the link with a system that was originally based on need.

Mr Dickie pointed out that the two child limit will push an extra 200,000 children into poverty in the UK, and that two-thirds of families affected are in work.

He said the cap is “undermining what we mean by social security.”

Alison Johnstone, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Lothian, 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.

“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.”

To read more see the Social Security Committee papers on the two child limit in tax credits and universal credit HERE.

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