credit: Matt J Newman (Creative Commons) (uploaded 12/10/2016)
credit: Matt J Newman (Creative Commons) (uploaded 12/10/2016)

Chloe Leslie, Bromsgrove Socialist Party

The ‘two-child limit’ policy prevents parents from claiming child tax credit or Universal Credit for any third, or subsequent, child born after it was introduced by the Tories in April 2017.

This vital support could be worth up to £3,235 per child per year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. 1.5 million children – one in ten – have already been affected.

There are some exceptions. Multiple births, adopted children, and those living with kinship carers.

Children conceived as a result of rape, or during abusive relationships, are also exempt. There are many reasons why in a lot of these cases the total entitlement is not claimed.

The ‘non-consensual conception clause’ requires victims to fill out a mandatory eight-page form. A section also needs a third-party professional to complete.

Victims are required to not be living with the rapist or abusive partner. This tragically excludes many who are not able to leave abusive partners.

The two-child limit followed on from the Tories’ benefit cap. That limits the amount of benefits a household can receive if they have no or low earnings.

The cap affects 114,000 households, including 280,000 children. It is estimated that affected families lose £50 per week.

Serious, dire and devastating

These policies have a serious, dire and devastating impact on many ordinary working-class people. Both Tory policies have a greater impact on households living in private-rented properties, single-parent families too.

The Tories claim they’re promoting fairness in the benefit system. However, research has found no evidence that either policy achieves its intended behavioural goals and, in some cases, has had the opposite effect.

The Tories claim they’re providing incentives for parents to work more hours or make different family-planning decisions. Actually, they just force more children and families into hardship.

Both of these policies were implemented by the Tories under David Cameron, and kept in place by the Conservative governments since.

Keir Starmer’s recent announcement to rule out scrapping the two-child benefit cap shows that the persistent failure of the Tories to address child poverty will not change under a Labour government.

Years of Tory cuts, unopposed by Labour councils, have ensured that living standards for working-class families have continued to fall. The capitalist system is in crisis, and cannot improve the lives of working-class people.

In order to fight against child poverty, we need socialist policies that see housing, food, and education as basic rights for all people. We need a welfare system that is a proper safety net for those who fall on hard times, not something that people are fearful of using.

The Socialist Party fights to scrap the two-child benefits cap, and for a permanent uplift in benefits, with regular rises to keep pace with the cost of living.