New research has shown that an estimated 3,475 children in North Ayrshire (20%) are being disadvantaged by the UK Tory Government’s controversial two-child cap, which allows low-income families to claim child tax credits or universal credit for their first two children only.
According to data obtained and collated by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), there are 1,050 families in North Ayrshire and 160,000 families across Scotland, who have had their income slashed by the two-child limit since its introduction in 2017.
The two-child limit mostly affects working families with three children.
Refusing to stand by, the SNP Government is spending £125 million this year alone, to mitigate the impact of the two-child cap and other Tory cuts such as the Bedroom Tax, on families in Scotland.
CAPG highlights that 95% of affected families they interviewed said the two-child limit has affected their ability to pay for basic living costs and 88% said it had affected their ability to pay for food.
A particularly harrowing element of this Tory UK Government policy is the so-called rape clause, under which female applicants are required to prove that any third or subsequent child they seek benefits for was conceived as a result of them being raped, in order to qualify for child tax credits.
CAPG estimates that unless it is scrapped, more than three million children across the UK could be affected by the benefit cap.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Social security should be a safety net for all of us, but the two-child limit is having a devastating effect on families up and down the country, with 3,475 of children across North Ayrshire impacted.
“The SNP Government has been left to pick up the pieces.
“This year Scotland is investing over £125 million - £20 million more than last year - to protect the most vulnerable across North Ayrshire and Scotland from callous Tory welfare policies.
“As reported last week, the SNP is also introducing a Scottish Child Payment to tackle child poverty. Without the two-child cap, this payment could go so much further.
“The next Tory Prime Minister should make it a priority to tackle poverty and enable children to thrive, starting with reversing the two-child limit and horrendous rape clause.
“We know for a fact there would be no such policy in Scotland if such decisions were made here and it’s high time we extricated our children from this UK Tory mess.”
SNP Parliamentarians at Westminster and Holyrood called on the Tory Government to drop their callous policy prior to its introduction and continue to do so.