The government which seemed to have sworn on making life difficult for the people has taken a move that came as a relief for several families. Amber Rudd will scrap the controversial plans to retrospectively cap benefits for families with more than two children.
The Work and Pensions Secretary will be using her first welfare speech on Friday to reverse plans to extend the benefit crackdown to extra 15,000 families, which was due to come into force in just three weeks.
According to the policy implemented in April 2017, two-child families receiving Universal Credit have not been able to claim support for the children born since then. The government had argued that benefit claimants “should face the same financial choices about having children” as working families.
The policy stops parents claiming Tax Credits or Universal Credit for more than two children, a cut of up to £2,780 per child.
In February, the government had planned to extend the benefits cap to all families with more than two children, irrespective of whether they were born before the policy was introduced.
Critics had claimed that the move would cut the income of several families by £3,000-a-year and push over 260,000 children into deprivation.
However, in a speech at a Jobcentre in London, Amber Rudd will vow to scrap the planned extension of the two-child limit, saying that the existing Conservative policy is “not right”.
The Tory welfare chief will say, “As it stands, from February 2019 the two-child limit will be applied to families applying for universal credit who had their children before the cap was even announced. That is not right,” adding that “these parents made decisions about the size of the family when the previous system was the only system in place.”
The announcement from Amber Rudd follows a backlash from the MPs, who brand the extension plans “wicked” and “Cruel”. Besides, it comes on the same day as the Parliament’s work and pensions committee had been set to publish a damning report demanding an immediate halt to the extension before it caused “very serious consequences”.
While the drastic U-turn has been deemed “encouraging” by charity network Citizen’s Advice, critics say it’s not enough.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood said it “did not go far enough”.
She said, “Labour has long called for the Government to abandon the two-child limit in its entirety. Universal Credit simply is not working: it is pushing many families into poverty, rent arrears and towards foodbanks,” further demanding the government to “stop the roll out immediately before more people are pushed into financial hardship.”
While the policy U-turn by Amber Rudd is being considered as too little too late, the fact is that it has prevented the grave consequences to grow to more families. However, the families and women who are still under the effects of the policy cannot be neglected.
The move taken by the welfare chief is also being considered as an outcome of fear of the growing criticism from people, the opposition party and the parliament. Instead of taking preventive measures, the Conservative leaders should have been considerate towards the severe impacts of their policy implementation.