Amber Rudd retracts two child limit on Universal Credit

two child limit, amber rudd
© David Fowler

The announcement of partial retraction to the two child limitation came today

The Universal Credit Scheme is due to combine and replace Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit: a huge adjustment for welfare systems in the UK.

The former Home Secretary Amber Rudd has faced criticism for the two child limit on Universal Credit, which has currently replaced the majority of Child Tax Credit in the UK. The two-child limit was in place for 6 April 2017, meaning that “if you have 3 or more children you won’t be able to apply for Universal Credit”, a limitation criticised by politicians, civil society and the public.

The announcement of partial retraction to the two child limitation came today, leading some to describe the move as helpful but further divisive.

The intention of the limit was to encourage “working incentive”, for example, children under 20 years old being viable to receive Universal Credit only if “in eligible education or training” – similar to the prioritisation made by the recent White Paper on Immigration, for “skilled” migrants above all others.

There are also complex clauses that allow for children born as part of “the multiple births” to receive Universal Credit for one of two twins born, and barring payment to adopted children “if they are adopted from abroad”.

Secretary of Work and Pensions Amber Rudd spoke out about her decision:

“Maybe things that were proposed weren’t effective or weren’t compassionate in the way that I want them to be, so I’m going to be perfectly bold about making those changes where I need to.”

Margaret Greenwood MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary responded:

“Amber Rudd has admitted that applying the two child limit to families with children who were born before the system was introduced is not “compassionate”. It’s clear the Government must scrap the two-child limit in its entirety.

“Labour will scrap the social security freeze and get rid of the two child cap, which everyone, including the Work and Pensions Secretary, knows is deeply unfair.”


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