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New figures released today show that the two-child benefit cap now affects 1.6 million children, who are missing out on thousands of pounds a year due to the policy which has been slammed by anti-poverty campaigners as ‘cruel and inhumane’.

According to the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions, among the 1.6 million children affected are 1.3 million children living in a Universal Credit household and 270,000 children living in a Child Tax Credit household.

The report states: “Out of 450,000 households affected by the policy, due to having a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017, 280,000 (62%) have three children, 120,000 (25%) have four children and 56,000 (12%) have five or more children (Figure 10).”

“Of the 1.6 million children in households affected by the policy, 52% of children were in households with three children, 29% in households with four children, and 19% are in households with five or more children.”

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.

Reacting to the latest figures, Chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham, said: “Children are losing their life chances to the two-child limit now – they can’t wait for the new government to align every star before the policy is scrapped.

“The PM came to office pledging a bold, ambitious child poverty-reduction plan and there’s no way to deliver on that promise without scrapping the two-child limit, and fast. This is not the time for procrastination or prevarication – the futures of 1.6 million children are on the line.”

Work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall said: “We will work to give every child the best start in life by delivering our manifesto commitment to implement an ambitious strategy to reduce child poverty.

“I will hold critical meetings with charities and experts next week to get this urgent work underway.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

The post ‘Cruel’ two-child benefit cap now affects 1.6 million children appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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