Budget: Missed opportunity to scrap rape clause

Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, has expressed her “sheer desolation” following the Chancellor’s budget statement today (Wednesday).  Despite making his budget statement to Parliament on International Women’s Day, Phillip Hammond MP did not use the budget as an opportunity to scrap the Government’s controversial rape clause and two child policy.  The Glasgow MP said today’s “missed opportunity” was an insult to women all across the UK who were celebrating International Women’s Day.

In the George Osborne’s budget of July 2015 – and buried within the small print – the UK Government announced plans to restrict tax credit payments to two children per family and force women to provide evidence of exceptional circumstances, such as rape, to claim tax credits for a third child from April 2017.

Commenting from Westminster after the Chancellor delivered his budget speech to Parliament, Ms Thewliss said:

“Today’s budget was a real missed opportunity for Phillip Hammond and Theresa May to do the honourable thing and scrap the UK Government’s pernicious two child policy and medieval rape clause.

“I cannot begin to describe the sheer desolation I felt when I looked at the UK Government’s Red Book today of all days – International Women’s Day – and saw that this callous Chancellor is still intending to make women prove they’ve been raped in order to receive tax credits.

“I’ve spent over a year and a half campaigning against this appalling policy, and I still cannot believe that any Government would think it’s acceptable to put women and their families through such incredible pain and misery.

“Although they’ve not yet laid the necessary statutory instrument before Parliament, it’s looking increasingly likely that the UK Government is planning to implement the rape clause on the April 6th.  I urge the Tories, even at this late stage, to reconsider their cruel, anti-women policy.”

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