Use Budget to scrap the rape clause

On the eve of Philip Hammond’s Budget, Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, has called on the Chancellor to use this vital opportunity to ditch the UK Government’s planned two child policy and rape clause.

With just under a month left until the policy comes into force, the campaigning MP has written to the Treasury, calling upon Chancellor to seize the moment presented by Wednesday’s budget and scrap this pernicious policy, which is opposed by women’s organisations, faith leaders, trade unions, MPs and MSPs from across the political divide.

Ms Thewliss has highlighted the growing concerns regarding delivery of the policy from civil service unions and from respondents to the government’s consultation on this issue. She has also pointed out the Government’s poor preparations for implementing the policy, with no additional training offered for the thousands of healthcare professionals, police officers and social workers who will be tasked with carrying out assessments of vulnerable women and arbitrating on whether or not their circumstances are consistent with rape.

Commenting prior to the Budget Statement, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“With under a month left until the two child policy and rape clause comes into force, it remains the case that this policy is immoral and unworkable. The public have had their say and they are clear – this policy stigmatises vulnerable women and must be consigned to the Downing Street dustbin.

“Serious questions remain about the implementation of the policy, with hundreds of thousands of third party professionals left without the promised training in the policy, and growing opposition from civil servants’ unions. The UK Government is still to introduce the necessary legislation to allow the policy to proceed in 23 days’ time, which underlines my belief that Ministers are slowly realising that this policy is a cruel and unfeasible way to cut benefits.

“With his upcoming budget, the Chancellor has a critical opportunity to save face for this heartless Government and ditch the two child policy and rape clause. I encourage him to do so when he comes before Parliament to deliver his Budget statement.”

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