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‘Do not let Welsh children down’ – FM urged to pressure Starmer on two-child limit

18 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Photo: Dominic Lipinski / PA Media

Plaid Cymru have today (Tuesday 18 July) written to the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford urging him not to “let children in Wales down” and to pressure Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to rethink his policy on limiting means-tested support to families’ first two children.

The two-child limit restricts child allowances in universal credit (UC) and tax credits (worth up to £3,235 a year) to the first two children in a family, unless the children were born before April 2017 when the policy was introduced.

Larger families, and minority ethnic households are disproportionately affected.

Sir Keir Starmer confirmed on Sunday he would retain the two-child limit despite growing calls from poverty campaigners for the cap to be abandoned.

With nearly 19,000 families in Wales affected by this cap, eliminating it would provide an additional £3,235 per child per year.

Child poverty rates in Wales are among the highest in the UK, affecting over one in four children.


In their letter, Plaid Cymru’s Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP, and Economy Spokesperson, Luke Fletcher MS, write:

“At a time when the rising cost of living is putting huge pressure on low-income households, it is regrettable that your party leader will not even take the most modest of measures to remove barriers to support children in poverty.

“Removing the two-child limit would cost £1.3 billion, whereas child poverty in the UK is estimated to cost public services nearly £40 billion a year.

“The cap affects nearly 19,000 families in Wales alone and abolishing it would be worth an additional £3,235 per child per year. This change would be particularly important in Wales given we have some of the highest child poverty rates in the UK, with over one in four children living in poverty.

“We agree with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales who described the policy as cruel and affecting children by “depriving them of their human rights to a good standard of living, health, and development.

“The Welsh Government in the past has been rightly critical of the two-child limit for breaking the link between need and entitlement, and you and other Welsh ministers have urged the UK Government to abolish the policy. For consistency if for nothing else, Plaid Cymru urge you to continue taking a clear stance on this matter.

“It has been six years since the introduction of the two-child limit, and we sincerely hope you still share our ambition to ensure we do not reach the seven-year anniversary.

“Please do not let children in Wales down by continuing to oppose the two-child limit and use your position within the Labour Party to pressure your party leader to do the same.”

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John Davies
John Davies
9 months ago

As Jamie Driscoll pointed out, keeping children in hunger is a policy that costs far more than it saves. There are health costs, there are costs in terms of disrupted education, and there are the long-term cost in benefits to support those who will one day not be able to work because they were too hungry to learn at school. In cold cash terms, the two-child cap does not make the slightest sense. Its sole purpose is to convince those that need to be convinced that a government (or in this case a government-in-waiting) is prepared to be cruel. It… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

Does Mark Drakeford naively think Blue Labour leader Keir Starmer is going to listen to his concern, lol. He’s already said like Thatcher, “I’m not for turning”, so I wish him the best of luck but his concern will fall on deaf ears..

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
9 months ago

Shame on Starmer. Universal credit needs to be increased in total, it’s not enough to live on. Axing the two child limit on child benefit could be a small step in the right direction. However let’s not forget Mark Drakeford has just cancelled the benefit top up for the summer holidays for kids who normally have free school meals. Many kids in Wales will go hungry as a consequence. Mark Drakeford does not occupy the higher moral ground

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