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Alba use Holyrood motion to pressure SNP to mitigate Labour’s two-child benefit cap

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Alba use Holyrood motion to pressure SNP to mitigate Labour’s two-child benefit cap

Ash Regan, the party’s sole MSP at Holyrood, has laid a motion before the Scottish Parliament calling on other opposition groups to push the SNP into mitigating the two-child cap.

As it stands, people are blocked by UK law from claiming benefits for their third or subsequent children – unless they meet certain conditions such as being able to prove the child is a product of rape – due to a Tory policy brought in in 2017.

READ MORE: Labour manifesto projects £2.5bn surplus – so scrap two-child benefit cap, SNP say

According to the Resolution Foundation, the abolition of the cap UK-wide would instantly lift around half a million children out of poverty and would cost some £2.5 billion in 2024-2025.

The foundation added: “These costs are low compared to the harm that the policy causes, and scrapping the two-child limit would be one of the most efficient ways to drive down child poverty rates.”

Keir Starmer has refused to prioritise lifting children out of poverty by ending the two-child cap

However, Keir Starmer repeatedly refused to commit to ending the cap during the General Election campaign, saying his priority was economic growth.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the Labour-supporting Daily Record both urged Starmer to U-turn on his support for the cap on Wednesday, suggesting that people in power in the party may be minded to shift.

Ahead of any potential moves from Labour, Alba have said the Scottish Government should act first to add pressure to remove the two-child cap.

READ MORE: NHS must ‘end begging bowl culture and focus on economic growth’, Wes Streeting says

Regan called on the Scottish Government to fund the mitigation of the two-child cap for the rest of this year, and for the new Labour UK Government to use its first Budget to scrap the policy.

An Alba source argued that the Scottish Government could give more funding to local councils and use increased discretionary housing payments to mitigate the policy.

The move would mirror tactics used by Alex Salmond’s SNP government in 2013, when £20 million in emergency funding was found from ministerial budgets in order to make extra discretionary payments to tenants affected by the Tories’ “bedroom tax”.

Alba MSP Ash Regan is looking to have the two-child cap mitigated in Scotland

The Alba source said: “Ash Regan’s motion will force Anas Sarwar to back the Scottish Government and a coalition across the Scottish Parliament to end the two-child benefit cap.

“If the Scottish Government finds the money to fully mitigate the cap for the rest of this year we will see children lifted out of poverty.

“Will Sir Keir Starmer then choose to force these children straight back into poverty next year or will he follow the lead of the Scottish Government and lift children across the whole of the UK out of poverty?”

Ash Regan’s motion reads:

Scrap the two child benefit cap

The Scottish Parliament condemns the two-child benefit cap that was introduced in 2017 by the UK Government.

The Scottish Parliament understands that 80,000 children in Scotland are affected by the UK Government policy and an additional 20,000 children in Scotland were placed into poverty as a result of the benefits cap.

The Scottish Parliament calls on the Scottish Government to fund the full mitigation of the two-child cap in Scotland for the remainder of this financial year and for the new Labour UK Government to scrap the two-child benefit cap in its first budget.

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