I have signed, along with 108 others, a letter published in today’s Times. This is the text:
Today, the Government publishes statistics on the number of families affected by the two-child limit. This policy substantially reduces support through tax credits and universal credit for low-income families with a third or subsequent child born since April 2017. The two-child limit breaks the fundamental link between need and the provision of minimum support. It implies that some children, by virtue of their birth order, are less deserving of support. It leaves affected families £50 a week worse off, and will push 300,000 more children into poverty by 2024.
The two-child limit means unprecedented cuts to the living standards of the poorest children in Britain. We know it is affecting children now. Families report struggling to pay for basic living costs and being forced into debt, and children missing out on healthy food and activities. Children growing up in poverty, or pushed further into poverty as a result of the policy, will be likely to do less well at school, have poorer health outcomes and worse life chances. It is quite simply one of the most damaging changes to the social security system ever.
The two-child limit should be abolished before it harms more children.
Reducing payments for families with more than two children does not, of course, mean that the first two children will have support while the third child will get nothing; that is not how families work. It means that support is reduced for the whole family, and every child in the family is effectively being penalised.