Making ends meet is hard at the best of times. Throw in the two-child limit for Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit and suddenly hundreds of thousands more families are thrown in poverty.
At CAP, we see every day the impossible choices families are forced to make and while mum and dad are trying to cope with the changes to their income, has anyone spared a thought for the children themselves?
Children are not immune from the strain financial worries placed on their families – relationally, practically and emotionally. The number of children already living in poverty in the UK is unacceptable. It is not right that children should bear the brunt of this policy. Like everyone else, they do not choose to be born and deserve the opportunity to flourish.
That is why Christians Against Poverty (CAP), along with 45 other charities, has thrown its full support behind Child Action Poverty Group (CPAG) and the Church of England’s All Kids Count campaign to remove this unjust and unfair rule which penalises those who simply cannot bear any responsibility for their situation the most – the children.
In CAP’s recent Client report, 80% of parents shared they felt debt negatively affected their children and 17% of all our clients went without meals on a daily basis before working with us.
So, what is this all about?
Announced in 2015 and introduced from 6 April 2017, the two-child limit removed entitlement to Child Tax Credits or Universal Credits for third or subsequent children born after this date - worth £2,780 per child per year.
Child Poverty Action Group estimates two million children will be affected in the next four years, half of whom would have been in poverty anyway.
Of the 160,000 families who have been affected so far, the majority (66%) of these are from working families, with potentially 300,000 children being pushed into poverty and one million pushed deeper by 2023/4. 95% of those surveyed said the two-child limit has affected their ability to pay for basic living costs. This is forcing families into debt to try to cover these and naturally the stress is affecting their mental health and relationships.
The Government has said the policy will have positive impact on family stability as it makes parents consider carefully whether to have another child but has supplied no evidence for this to date. We at CAP would challenge the Government to look again at this and end now the suffering they have placed on so many.