Lochhead call to scrap 'cruel' policy
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A LOCAL MSP has called on the UK Government to scrap the "cruel" two-child benefit cap – which could affect more than 2500 children in Moray.
The "two-child policy" allows low-income families to claim child tax credits or universal credit for their first two children only.
Research from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has revealed that 160,000 families have had their income slashed by the policy so far.
And the CPAG says its research shows 15% of the total number of children in Moray could be affected by the move.
The charity estimates that more than 3 million children could eventually be affected by the benefit cap.
SNP MSP Richard Lochhead said: "Social security should be a safety net for all of us, but the two-child limit is having a devastating effect on families up and down the country, with 2545 of children in Moray set to be affected by it.
"All families are valuable and worthy of support. But this cruel policy turns people away when they most need support and leaves children to grow up in hardship – which can have lifelong consequences for their health and wellbeing.
"The SNP government has been left to pick up the pieces, investing over £125 million to mitigate callous Tory welfare policies.
"In addition, it is introducing a Scottish Child Payment to tackle child poverty. Without the two-child cap, this payment could go so much further.
"The next Tory prime minister should make it a priority to tackle poverty and enable children to thrive, starting with reversing the two-child limit and horrendous 'rape clause'."
Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross said: "I note the comments on this policy – but it is strange that Richard Lochhead is highlighting this at a time when his own government are asking the UK Government to retain control over significant areas of social security as the SNP have not prepared enough to receive these powers.
"The Department of Work and Pensions remains critically dependent on the SNP government in Scotland providing greater detail of their specific benefit policies and how they plan to implement them – a plan which has now been delayed by the SNP until 2024.
"I hope Richard Lochhead will encourage his government to work on these policies and focus on delivering a workable policy for the people of Scotland."