Policy 'deprives children of human rights to a good standard of living, health, and development'

Plaid Cymru have today (Tuesday 18 July) written to the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford urging him not to “let children in Wales down” and to pressure Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to rethink his policy on limiting means-tested support to families’ first two children.

The two-child limit restricts child allowances in universal credit (UC) and tax credits (worth up to £3,235 a year) to the first two children in a family, unless the children were born before April 2017 when the policy was introduced. Larger families, and minority ethnic households are disproportionately affected.

With nearly 19,000 families in Wales affected by this cap, eliminating it would provide an additional £3,235 per child per year. Child poverty rates in Wales are among the highest in the UK, affecting over one in four children.

In their letter, Plaid Cymru’s Work and Pensions Spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP, and Economy Spokesperson, Luke Fletcher MS, write:

“At a time when the rising cost of living is putting huge pressure on low-income households, it is regrettable that your party leader will not even take the most modest of measures to remove barriers to support children in poverty. Removing the two-child limit would cost £1.3 billion, whereas child poverty in the UK is estimated to cost public services nearly £40 billion a year.”

“The cap affects nearly 19,000 families in Wales alone and abolishing it would be worth an additional £3,235 per child per year. This change would be particularly important in Wales given we have some of the highest child poverty rates in the UK, with over one in four children living in poverty.

“We agree with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales who described the policy as cruel and affecting children by “depriving them of their human rights to a good standard of living, health, and development.”

“The Welsh Government in the past has been rightly critical of the two-child limit for breaking the link between need and entitlement, and you and other Welsh ministers have urged the UK Government to abolish the policy. For consistency if for nothing else, Plaid Cymru urge you to continue taking a clear stance on this matter.

“It has been six years since the introduction of the two-child limit, and we sincerely hope you still share our ambition to ensure we do not reach the seven-year anniversary. Please do not let children in Wales down by continuing to oppose the two-child limit and use your position within the Labour Party to pressure your party leader to do the same.”