New official figures reveal that the number of families affected by the two-child limit in universal credit and tax credits jumped by 67,000 in the year to April 2021 to reach 318,000.

The two-child policy restricts child allowances in universal credit and tax credits (worth £237.08 per month) to the first two children in a family, unless the children were born before April 2017, when the policy was introduced.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has hit out again at the two-child policy, describing it as “deeply unfair” and is calling for the policy to be scrapped. The Mayor has also criticised the Government for cutting Universal Credit by £20 per week.

Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions reveal that in Tower Hamlets, a total of 2,810 households are affected by the two-child limit as they have 3 or more children, and consequently are not receiving additional financial support for at least one child.

Analysis from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) highlights that most (56%) of the families affected are in work, despite Covid-driven job losses, and most (60%) affected families have three children. CPAG also highlights that scrapping the policy would lift 200,000 children out of poverty and lessen the depth of poverty for another 600,000 children at a cost of £1bn.

The Government’s own Social Mobility Commission also called last week for the two-child limit to be scrapped.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “These new figures show just how many families are affected by the two-child limit. The limit refuses to acknowledge that a crisis can happen to families at any time, particularly with so many livelihoods affected by the pandemic, and it effectively locks families out of significant amounts of financial support when they need it the most.

“The two-child limit is deeply unfair and it affects a large number of families in Tower Hamlets. I’m calling on the Government to urgently scrap the two-child limit, and to cancel the cut to universal credit.”

Cllr Mufeedah Bustin, Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion, said: “With even the Government’s own Social Mobility Commission calling for the two-child limit to be scrapped, it’s clear that the policy is driving up child poverty and it needs to go.

“Scrapping the two-child limit would make an immediate difference to many families in Tower Hamlets, particularly as they struggle with the economic fallout of Covid-19.”

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