A recent study by the University of York found that the two-child limit and the benefit cap had contributed to rising child poverty, which, allied to wider benefit cuts, had impacted larger families disproportionately. Given the growing weight of evidence that families are being pushed further into hardship, will the Government finally acknowledge the real harm that their cruel and callous welfare policies are causing, and reverse them?
A report by the Child Poverty Action Group showed that the two-child limit affects one in 10 children across the UK. It found that abolishing the policy would be the most cost-effective action that the Government could take to reduce child poverty. Why will the Minister not take that action? Is child poverty so low on his priority list that he has not considered it, or did he consider it and then decide that vulnerable children just are not worth it?
The Government are committed to a sustainable long-term approach to tackling poverty and supporting people on low incomes. We will spend around £276 billion through the welfare system in 2023-24, including around £124 billion on people of working age and children.
The Minister seems to forget that the two-child limit impacts people who are on in-work benefits. The only exemption to the two-child limit is if a woman can prove that her third or a subsequent child has been born as a result of rape. How many people has the Minister’s Department asked to prove that they have been raped in order to get an exemption to the two-child limit?
I am disappointed that the Minister does not know, because his Department has made 2,590 women prove and relive the ordeal of being raped, simply to get that state support, but given that the Labour party and the Conservatives support the two-child policy and rape clause, does it give him comfort to know that when the “Ghost of George Osborne Future” comes into office, his legacy in promoting astronomical child poverty rates will be safe in the hands of the Blairites on the Labour Benches?