Monday, 08 October 2018 16:58

SNP CALL FOR URGENT REVIEW OF ‘CRUEL’ TWO-CHILD POLICY

Delegates at the SNP conference have criticised the Westminster policy of limiting child tax credit to the first two children in a family, including those living with family under kinship care agreements.

The Tory government was condemned for failing to adhere to a High Court judgement which ruled that they must ensure that kinship carers are exempt from the two-child limit. 

The “two-child policy” allows families to claim child tax credits or universal credit only for their first two children, unless there are special circumstances. 

In addition, the policy requires claimants whose third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape to prove this to social workers or health professionals in order to qualify for an exemption – known as the ‘rape clause’.

Across the UK, so far 9% of Child Tax Credits (CTC) or UC claimants with three or more children have been affected by the limit. This share will continue to increase each year as more of the cohort of children eligible for benefits in a given year will be born after April 2017 or be part of households making new claims to UC.

SNP MSP Maureen Watt revealed that an Aberdeenshire family has been forced to face this unlawful policy first-hand after the UK government refused to pay child tax credit for their third child, who they look after under kinship care. 

The family are extremely concerned about how they are going to provide for all three children on a long-term basis but have been told by the UK government that they must await a “regulatory change” before they receive any payment.

Maureen Watt MSP said; 

“Tory cuts are driving more and more families into poverty and the cruel and immoral two-child policy is no exception to that rule.

“Often the circumstances leading to someone taking a young relative into their home are heart breaking — in cases of death, illness or family difficulties. 

“It is appalling that kinship carers – who have not planned to have a larger family, but have taken on the responsibility – are being punished for providing a loving home.  

“The Tories cannot be allowed to get away with pushing their obsession with austerity onto Scottish families and children.  This cruel policy must be scrapped and the UK government must take steps to ensure families are not put off from offering a loving home as an alternative to the
care system.

“The SNP in Government has done more than any previous administration to support kinship carers and we will continue fighting these disgraceful Tory policies and developing a welfare policy with fairness and dignity at its heart.”

CHILD TAX CREDITS AND KINSHIP CARE

Conference deplores the Tory government over the ongoing two-child rule for child tax credits, and their failure to adhere to the High Court ruling of April 2018 that all children looked after by family members under kinship care agreements, who are claiming tax credits or universal credit, will not be taken into account for the purposes of the two-child limit.

Conference believes all children should be treated equally, regardless of biological status or order of birth, and agrees with the High Court that denying financial support to carers because of this draconian policy is perverse and unlawful.

Conference urges an immediate review of all cases of rejected applications for tax credits where kinship care agreements are in place. Conference further proposes that all rejected applications should be referred for Mandatory Reconsiderations, and that the UK Government take steps to ensure families are not put off offering children a loving home as an alternative to the care system.

ABERDEEN SOUTH & NORTH KINCARDINE BRANCH
MAUREEN WATT MSP
DOUG DANIEL, POLITICAL EDUCATION CONVENER

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