As the First Minister of Scotland, I am angry at the Labour Party’s decision to support the Tory Government’s two-child benefit cap. This policy, implemented in 2017, restricts financial support to families with more than two children, disproportionately affecting low-income families and exacerbating child poverty. If a woman does want support for a third child, she would have to prove she became pregnant as a result of rape. This policy is the very manifestation of Westminster cruelty.
Charities such as the Child Poverty Action Group, Barnardo’s, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have consistently criticised the policy, saying it is keeping up to 15,000 children in Scotland in poverty.
This cruel Tory UK Government have inflicted misery on millions of families with over a decade of austerity, a disastrous hard Brexit and the catastrophe of the mini-budget.
The SNP will do what we can to mitigate the harm Westminster is inflicting upon Scotland. It is estimated that 90,000 children will be lifted out of poverty in Scotland this year due to action we, the Scottish Government, have taken.
However, I am utterly dismayed that Sir Keir Starmer wants to retain policies, like the two-child limit that are actively plunging Scottish families and children into poverty.
It is clear that a choice between the Tories or a pale imitation of the Tories is not a real alternative for the people of Scotland. The real alternative, the real change comes with independence and having the ability to make decisions over our own future.
Labour’s support of this policy contradicts their claims of advocating for social justice and protecting the most vulnerable in society. Instead of becoming a pale imitation of the Tories, I urge them to reconsider their support. By endorsing this policy, they undermine the fight against child poverty and disregard their supposed commitment to social justice.
It harms vulnerable families and perpetuates the cycle of poverty. In Scotland, we have rejected this approach and have implemented measures that prioritise the welfare of children and families. We’ve introduced the Scottish Child Payment, a policy initiative that provides financial support to low-income families for every child, irrespective of the number of children they have. Our aim is to break the cycle of poverty and improve the life chances of every child in Scotland.
With the full powers of an independent country, we can rid Scotland of these callous policies once and for all – and begin to build a fairer, more prosperous country.
First Minister & SNP Leader