Budget 2017: A missed opportunity to scrap rape clause

Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, has voiced her exasperation following the Chancellor’s budget statement today, which once again failed to address the shortcomings of the mediaeval two child policy and rape clause. The Glasgow MP noted that the omission only served to further illustrate the Government’s reluctance to do the right thing by women and families.

The two child cap restricts tax credit payments to the first two children per family. At the same time, it forces women who want to claim an exemption for a third child – for example as a result of rape – to do so by submitting evidence and navigating a laborious administrative process.

Commenting following the Chancellor’s budget speech, Ms Thewliss said:

“I am sorely disappointed and exasperated that the Chancellor has missed yet another opportunity to do the right thing and scrap the UK Government’s pernicious two child policy and rape clause, which will push 200,000 children into poverty.

“I have been pursuing the UK Government on this abhorrent policy for over two years now, and its sickening impact on women and families across the country is becoming clearer by the day.

“On top of this, the Government is continuing to fail women in Northern Ireland who – along with third party referrers – could face prosecution under existing laws in Northern Ireland if they apply for an exemption, as I highlighted recently in parliament. The fact that these women are being forced to choose between struggling to put food on the table or going through the criminal justice system is unthinkable.

“Clearly the Chancellor does not think the plight of women and families is an important enough issue to receive the attention it deserves. I, and my colleagues in the SNP, could not disagree more, and I will continue to urge the Government to reconsider their approach.”

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