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Two child benefit cap prompts Plaid attack on Labour candidate

08 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Labour’s Bangor Aberconwy candidate Claire Hughes

Martin Shipton

A Welsh Labour candidate has been singled out for attack by Plaid Cymru after claiming that all children will benefit from the election of a UK Labour Government – even though Keir Starmer has made it clear that he will keep the two-child cap on benefits.

Claire Hughes is favourite to win the new seat of Bangor Aberconwy at the general election later this year.

Over the weekend she posted a message on social media that said: “Kids are back at school tomorrow after the Easter break. Highlights from the holidays include a 22 mile bike ride from Bangor Pier to Llandudno Pier with my daughter’s football team (Penrhyn Bay Football Club girls Wildcats – over £500 raised for St David’s Hospice), campaign sessions with special guests in the spring sunshine, watching Cymru FA Wales win 4-0 against Croatia in Wrexham … and celebrating my daughter’s 12th birthday yesterday.

“Being 12, she has never known anything but a Tory UK government in power at Westminster. I’m determined that by her next birthday, we’ll have a Labour government working with our Welsh Labour government to deliver a brighter future for ALL our children.”

But Ms Hughes’ message did not go down well with Plaid Cymru politicians and supporters, several of whom took to social media themselves to take issue with her.

‘Cruel’

Dewi Jones, a Plaid councillor from Caernarfon, wrote: “Labour candidate for Aberconwy says she wants a Labour government so that children will have a ‘brighter future’. One thing a Labour government could do is scrap the Tories’ two-child cap on benefits. But Starmer has said he’ll be keeping the policy. Brighter future?!”

Plaid Cymru itself posted a message which said: “Today marks seven years since the Tories introduced the cruel two child limit. It affects 65,000 children in Wales and denies families £3,235 a year per child.”

Plaid’s South Wales West MS Sioned Williams also pitched in, writing: “The two child cap deepens already shameful child poverty rates in Wales. Keir Starmer has lost the courage of his convictions and will not scrap it. Plaid Cymru will always put families in Wales who are struggling first and demand fairness from Westminster.”

And Plaid peer Baroness Carmen Smith, who recently became the youngest member of the House of Lords, wrote: “More than 65,000 children in Wales are affected by the two child limit, 11% of all children. We should be investing in children, not punishing them.”

The day before, the Child Poverty Action Group had written: Tomorrow is an unhappy birthday, 7 years since the start of the two-child limit to benefit payments We love birthdays but this isn’t one to celebrate Today we are taking this message to @DWPgovuk All political parties must pledge to scrap this Sibling Tax.”

‘Austerity’

Ms Hughes responded: “I was born in Bangor, grew up in Penmaenmawr during the 80s and 90s, and am now raising my own family in Llanfairfechan. Over the years I’ve served on the governing bodies of two local primary schools, volunteered for the local food bank and worked for NSPCC Cymru. I’ve seen effects of Tory austerity first-hand, and need no lessons on the scale or impact of child poverty on communities like ours.

“The last Labour Government got close to eradicating child poverty completely, improving the life chances of millions of children and young people.

“If Labour has the opportunity to form a government after the upcoming General Election election, we will be inheriting a dire financial situation as a result of Tory chaos and economic mismanagement. We will have to make decisions based on what we can afford – there’s no getting away from this.

“But put simply – if I didn’t believe that a future Labour Government will tackle child poverty with equal resolve and determination as the last, I would not be standing as a Labour candidate. Breaking down the barriers to opportunity for all children is one of the five missions that will drive a future Labour government, and tackling poverty is at the heart of it.”


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Richard E
Richard E
1 month ago

Not quite sure how “ all children will benefit from a U.K. Labour Gvt “ ? also
Not quite sure how Plaids wish to “ spread the funds “ across any number of children in a family will help either …?

I helped lead NSPCC Cymru durring the last Labour Gvt – and dont remember them “ being close to eradicating child poverty …however well intentioned.

Pre election periods should be for real
costed and thought out policies to go in front on tne electorate …not a slogn time.

Dr Dewi Evans
Dr Dewi Evans
1 month ago

Labour’s plan to stick with limiting benefits to two children is grossly discriminatory and probably a marker of child abuse. The Aberconwy candidate’s efforts to defend such a policy is indicative of their failure to overturn 14 years of Tory prejudice against children, both in Wales and across the UK and gives the lie to their claim that all children will benefit from a Labour Government. Labour as always are taking the electorate for granted. Plaid Cymru is to be congratulated for calling out their deceit.

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