End the child cap, and abolish Tory rape clause - Leonard

The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, today wrote to the chancellor, Philip Hammond, to demand to abolition of the two-child cap on social security payments in the upcoming budget.

The controversial rule restricts the number of children that qualify for Child Tax Credits and certain elements of Universal Credit calculations to two, meaning some families with at least three children are losing up to £2,780 each year per child, which Labour claim is affecting over 3,800 families across Scotland.

The intervention comes after Tory MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, caused outrage by claiming that it was "fair that people on benefits cannot have as many children as they like."

The cap also forms the basis of the much maligned 'rape clause', where women must inform authorities if they had been raped in order to qualify for an exemption the cap.

In his letter, Richard Leonard wrote: "It has been widely reported that the forthcoming budget will finally end the age of austerity that Britain has lived under for eight years now. If that is the case, the budget must end the two-child cap on tax credits."

"No single policy sums up the immorality of the age of austerity better than the two-child cap. To punish families by limiting how much support they can get by their number of children is simply wrong."

"This week the Scottish Parliament was stunned into silence as a Member of the Scottish Parliament claimed the policy is ‘fair’, saying it is ‘fair that people on benefits cannot have as many children as they like’."

"That comment would be utterly repulsive in any era, but at a time when 1 in 4 children in Scotland is living in poverty it shows your party to be completely out of touch with the lives of families across the UK."

We have reached out to the Treasury for a comment.

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