Lanark & Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has condemned the UK Government’s two child policy and the “rape clause” which was passed into law last week.
In July 2015, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced in his summer budget plans to slash child tax credit payments to just two children per family and implement a ‘non-consensual sex exemption’, dubbed the rape clause.
The new policy requires tax credit claimants, whose third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape, to prove this to social workers and health professionals in order to qualify for the exemption.
Faith leaders, women’s welfare groups, trade unions and child poverty campaigners have all condemned the policy, with many sexual violence support charities refusing to act as third party verifiers for the Government.
According to the Child Poverty Action Group this new law will “increase and deepen poverty” as well as creating “perverse incentives which risk harm to families and children.”
Commenting, Angela said:
“The UK government stooped to a new low by introducing this policy. Ministers are now unleashing untold chaos and poverty for some of the most vulnerable women and families in this country – indeed, the very “just about managing” families Theresa May spoke about upon taking office as Prime Minister.
“Independent analysis shows that the two child limit alone will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for hardworking families. If you had a third child last week, over the next 18 years you could be £50,000 better off than a family whose third child was born today.
“What’s most horrifying is the rape clause. Ministers are willing to give an exemption to those women whose third child was conceived as a result of rape, but they want them to prove this in a traumatic assessment from healthcare professionals and social workers. This will only seek to make rape survivors relive the trauma and brutality of the sexual violence they experienced.
“The rape clause has been found, even today, as being totally unworkable, with wholly inadequate guidance. There has been no proper sexual violence awareness training for healthcare professionals and social workers who’ve been asked to arbitrate on whether a woman’s child was conceived as a result of rape.
“This policy is the one of the worst to come from Whitehall and must be now be scrapped. I will continue to campaign, alongside my colleagues, to have this despicable policy removed from the statute book.”