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Letters to the Papers: Islington and the National Government must end two-child caps on support

Islington Tribune, March 2 2024

Hundreds of thousands of UK households are affected unfairly by the ‘Two Child’ benefits cap, which restricts universal credit and child tax credit to a family’s first two children and provides less or nothing for any others. It is one of our country’s biggest causes of child poverty, which has increased significantly among families with three children, for example, since the cap was introduced in 2017, and bigger families considerably more likely to be using food banks. 

More than half of those affected are in work and nearly half are single parent households, often for reasons beyond their control, such as death of a partner or a job loss. The poverty faced by many families doing everything right that they can, with parents working as much as they can, is shocking. 

Whatever the intention of the policy, it is creating deep divisions in young people’s development, which will affect lifelong outcomes in their health, education and employment. Many of the current generation are missing out on educational and recreational activities to develop their bodies and minds, which are simply out of reach.

Closer to home, though, Islington Council applies the same Two Child Cap on its council tax support for lower income households as the government does nationally, even though Labour, who currently have the majority on the Council, have expressed opposition to the policy at both national and local levels.

The Two Child Cap should be scrapped, nationally. But, while it’s only part of the wider picture, Islington should play their part to support struggling families, by scrapping it here too.

Cllr Ernestas Jegorovas-Armstrong, Islington Green Party