Barbara Keeley MP


Introduction of a Two-Child Limit for Tax Credits and Universal Credit

I believe it should be a central task of any Government to prevent, reduce and eradicate child poverty. That is why I was appalled by the announcement of the Conservative Government in 2015 that they planned to limit Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit provision to two children per family.

I share the concerns of organisations such as Child Poverty Action Group who fear that this change will push more children and families into poverty. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report which suggests that this policy could push 200,000 children into poverty. I know that the Social Security Advisory Committee has also written to the Minister for Employment raising concerns about the two-child limit.

These changes to Universal Credit were introduced as part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. While this Act was progressing through Parliament, Labour Shadow Ministers raised opposition to the two-child limit and in particular the lack of an equality impact assessment for this change.

I have consistently called upon the Conservative Government to rethink its welfare reforms and to abandon the two-child limit on tax credits. I supported calls for the two- child limit to be dropped before it came into force on 6 April 2017.

I believe these changes are wrong and that they represent an arbitrary cap on the number of children that the Government will help families to bring up. I remain concerned that this measure will increase child poverty and have a negative impact on the lowest incomes in our society. Please be assured that I support measures to reduce child poverty. I am committed to reversing the two-child limit on Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit.

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