Cruel tax policy leaves children in poverty

Jane Gebbie with general secretary Dave Prentis. Credit: Tracey Paddison


UNISON Cymru Wales has condemned the two child limit under Tax Credits and Universal Credit as ‘cruel’ and said it leaves some families struggling in poverty.

The trade union is promoting a UK Parliamentary petition ‘Repeal the two child limit to Tax Credits and Universal Credit, launched this week by former UNISON president Margaret McKee. It is encouraging members of the public to sign.

Since April 2017, in general you can only get child elements included in your universal credit for a maximum of two children. You cannot get a child element for a third child in your family born after April 2017. The trade union has questioned why state assistance should be limited in such a way when all children need to be fed and clothed.

Jane Gebbie, chair of UNISON Cymru Wales’ Women’s Committee, said,

“If you have more than two children and are in receipt of benefits, you shouldn’t have to choose which of your kids goes without. Cutting state support after two children is completely arbitrary and callous. Families should not be forced to struggle in poverty because they have three or more children.

“UNISON campaigns for social justice and as a society, we should give children the best possible start in life. That means ensuring fair financial support is given to families based on their need.

“We want members of the public to sign the petition to force a debate in Parliament and repeal the two child limit to Tax Credits and Universal Credit.”

Notes for editors

Repeal the two child limit to Tax Credits and Universal Credit.
It is a glaring injustice. It breaks the link between the assessment of children’s needs and the support they receive.
It will worsen child poverty.
Not all women have control over their reproductive destiny. Compulsory disclosure requirements will re-traumatise rape victims.
Many women will never disclose rape to anyone. Reasons include trauma, self-protection, shame, and fear for others – including their child. To force them to do so is cruel and risks danger.
There is already evidence that it is influencing decisions on pregnancy termination.
How could it be paid for?
The Government says the two child limit will save just over a £1bn in 2019/20. Since the policy was announced, OBR forecasts for spending on personal tax credits in 2019/20 have reduced by £2.2bn.


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 53 83 97