FM urged to call-out Starmer on ‘cruel’ two-child benefits cap
Plaid Cymru leader, Rhun ap Iorwerth, has urged First Minister, Mark Drakeford, to call out Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to adopt the Conservatives’ controversial two-child benefits cap.
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.
The benefit cap, which was first implemented in 2013, places a limit on the amount a household can receive in benefits if they have little or no earnings, resulting in the average household losing £50 per week.
Additionally, the two-child limit was introduced in 2017, impacting an estimated 32,000 households containing 110,000 children who were subject to both policies simultaneously in March 2022.
The Welsh Government said in June that the policy was “having such a devastating impact on families”.
Starmer’s comments were made in response to a question about whether he would scrap it if Labour wins the next election.
His shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, had condemned the policy as “heinous”.
According to a report released last month, more than one in four children in Wales are living in poverty.
The study, commissioned by the Wales Child Poverty Eradication Network and conducted by Loughborough University, found that child poverty rates were highest in Blaenau Gwent (30.3%) and Ceredigion (30%).
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “Keir Starmer has chosen to adopt cruel Tory policy that punishes children for having more than one brother or sister.
“If the First Minister truly wants to fix child poverty, he will urge Starmer to reconsider today. Let’s prioritise children’s wellbeing over political expediency.
“We want to create a Wales where every child and young person can prosper. We will shortly launch a consultation on a new Child Poverty Strategy which is committed to addressing child poverty as an absolute priority and which will shape our cross government objectives and create a more equal Wales.”
Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper has insisted Labour must be “clear about what we can fund” as she emphasised the party’s focus on economic responsibility.
Asked about this on Monday, Ms Cooper told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “What Labour’s been clear about is we have to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and we also will always make sure that the proposals we put forward are fully costed and funded so that we can actually deliver them, and I think that’s what people want to see.”
She pointed to measures Labour will fund to help tackle child poverty, including free breakfast clubs, helping people with their mortgages and reforming Universal Credit.
The long-serving Labour MP said there had been a 40% increase in child poverty under the Tories and insisted a Labour government would address this.
The two-child cap prevents parents from claiming universal credit or child tax credit for a third or additional child born after April 2017.
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