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Child Poverty - Small unhappy child sitting on pavement alone

More affected by two-child limit

Research from the Child Poverty Action Group has concluded 161,000 families have now fallen into the two-child limit net.

The two-child limit is a government policy which restricts the child element in universal credit and tax credits, worth £2,780 per year, to the first two children. Before 6th April 2017 it was payable for all children in low-income families to protect them against poverty. Third or subsequent children born before the policy was introduced are exempted.  

The findings draw on the results of an online survey of 438 families, and in-depth interviews with 16 families, all of which had been affected by the two-child limit. It found 592,000 children are now affected directly by the policy, with 59% of families surveyed being working families, and 58% of families having only three children.

Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Alison Garnham said, “every child deserves a good start in life, but today’s figures are a grim reminder of the human cost of this nasty policy, which says that some children are more deserving than others purely on the basis of their birth order  - and which mostly affects working families.”

“Our recent survey of over 400 affected families revealed the deep damage the policy has already done in just two years.  Parents reported more conflict at home – even between siblings – as money worries rise and older children have to relinquish childhood fundamentals like football club, school trips and swimming lessons so that nappies, baby milk and bills can be paid for.  Many parents had to borrow money each month to get by, and several had considered terminations when they found out about the policy after they became pregnant.

“The two-child limit undermines family life and leaves children without support in their vital early years, when the foundations are being laid for their future development. The government should lift the two-child limit to help all children thrive. ”

Read: Child Poverty Action Group – More families fall into two-child limit