Catholic bishops and the Catholic Union have urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to abolish the two-child limit on benefits as part of next month’s Budget.
In a letter congratulating Mr Sunak on his recent appointment, Bishop Richard Moth, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Social Justice, and Nigel Parker, Director of the Catholic Union, urged the Chancellor to help more than half a million children by abolishing the two-child limit for Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit in his forthcoming budget, scheduled for next month. This move would help to fulfil the Government’s manifesto promise to tackle child poverty through the tax and benefits system.
Bishop Moth and Mr Parker warned that: ‘Catholic charities across England and Wales have first-hand experience of how the limit can put essentials such as food, rent and utility bills beyond reach, with devastating consequences for children’s wellbeing and life-chances.’
Referencing Pope Francis’ reminder that “poverty is not inevitable”, they go on to state: ‘Abolishing the two-child limit will be both a tangible means of reducing child poverty in the UK and a clear sign of support for family life.’
Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle, commented: “If the Government is serious about helping families and levelling up society, then getting rid of the two-child benefit cap would be a good place to start. This deeply unfair policy leaves larger families worse off for no good reason. The new Chancellor has an opportunity to show he is listening on welfare spending and introduce a family-friendly budget later this month. It’s time to give all families the support they need and scrap the cap.”
The Budget is expected on 11th March. An estimated 160,000 families have already been affected by the two-child limit to date. Charities estimate that as a result of this policy, 300,000 children will be pushed into poverty and one million children, already in poverty, will be pushed even deeper into poverty by 2023/24.
Picture: Archive photo, dated 11th January 2014, shows the Palace of Westminster with Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. (Daniel Kalker/DPA/PA).