71,000 FAMILIES HIT BY THE TWO-CHILD LIMIT POLICY IN ITS FIRST YEAR

June 28, 2018

DWP statistics published today show  71,000 families have lost entitlement to child allowances in tax credits or universal credit in the first year of the ‘two-child  policy’ (1).  

Commenting on the figure, Child Poverty Action Group Chief Executive Alison Garnham said:

“Our analysis with IPPR last year found 200,000 children will be pulled into poverty by the two-child limit.  Today’s DWP statistics now show it’s already having a damaging impact – and at a fast pace.  These are struggling families,  most of them in work,  who will lose up to £2,780 a year  -  a huge amount if you’re a parent on low pay.  
“An estimated one in six UK children will be living in a family affected by the two-child limit once the policy has had its full impact.  It’s a pernicious, poverty-producing policy. Even when times are tough, parents share family resources equally among their children, but now the government is treating some children as less deserving of support purely because of their order of birth. Having older siblings should not mean that a child misses out on support.

“Sixty Bishops from the Church of England and senior representatives from other Christian, Jewish and Muslim organisations have said the policy should be reconsidered.  We again urge Ministers to review the policy in the interests of family life. “

(1)     The ‘two-child limit’ for child tax credit and universal credit came into force on 6 April 2017. Families who claim tax credits or universal credit, which have a third or subsequent child born after 6 April 2017, will no longer be able to claim a child element for this child or any future children. The child element is worth up to £2,780 per year (£232 per month) and until the policy came into effect was payable for all children in low- income families to help protect them from poverty. Families who make a new claim for universal credit from 1st February 2019 will only receive the child element for two children per family, even if the children were born before April 2017.
The DWP statistics, are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements/child-tax-credit-...

They show 2,900 households have received an exception for a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017. 2,440 of these received an exception for multiple births, 270 for a child in non-parental care, and 190 for non-consensual conception. To date no households have received the exception for adoption.

(2) Analysis by CPAG and IPPR has found that once universal credit is fully rolled out, the two- child limit will result in up to 200,000 additional children in poverty.

(3) Earlier this year 60 Bishops from the Church of England and senior representatives from other Christian, Jewish and Muslim organisations wrote to The Times urging the Government to rethink the two-child policy. The Church of England and End Child Poverty Coalition’s report on the policy is here.