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Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has once more reiterated his call for the two-child benefit limit to be scrapped, in a bid to help tackle child poverty which is having a devastating impact across the country.

The two-child benefit cap prevents parents from claiming child tax credit or universal credit for any third or subsequent child born after April 2017. It was introduced by the former chancellor George Osborne in his austerity drive with the aim of encouraging parents of larger families to find a job or work more hours.

Charities and anti-poverty campaigners have over the years highlighted how the cruel and unfair policy has pushed thousands of children into poverty. Ending the two-child benefit cap would lift 250,000 children out of poverty, and lessen the effects of poverty on a further 850,000, according to the Child Poverty Action Group.

Brown made the call to scrap the two-child benefit cap during an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday, where he also said that the policy was misunderstood.

The former Prime Minister said: “It’s not the third or the fourth child who is the only child that loses out. It’s every child because the average loss per family is about £60-per-week. A family on low pay or who is struggling can’t afford to lose £60-per-week,” he said.

He went on: “We have got to re-think that. I’m really focusing on the September financial statement by the Chancellor because this is an urgent problem. I think you should make this part of a review that has to include for example the bedroom tax, the benefit cap, the housing benefit limit, all these changes that have been introduced”.

He added: “A root-and-branch review of Universal Credit that takes into account the inequities of the two-child rule which I think has got to be scrapped, yes”.

In an interview in the Mirror, Labour leader Keir Starmer was asked about Brown’s latest comments: “Gordon Brown yesterday called for the two-child benefit limit to be scrapped and warned that the UK is heading for the worst child poverty figures in living memory. Where does ending child poverty sit in your list of priorities and will you rethink your position on the two-child limit?”

Starmer replied: “Ending child poverty is central… If we’re privileged enough to come in to serve, we will put a strategy in place for it.” But on the two-child benefit cap, he said: “What I can’t do is make promises that I can’t deliver.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

The post Gordon Brown reiterates call for two-child benefit limit to be scrapped appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.


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