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  • Writer's pictureLloyd Melville

Labour's two-child cap betrayal

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

As many of you will know, sometime in 2024, there will be a UK General Election. Currently, the Labour Party have a big lead in the polls in England, with the Tories projected to be kicked out of Downing Street.

Let me be clear: no UK Government has ever deserved to be annihilated at the ballot box more than this one.

13 years of sleaze, institutional cruelty, extreme right-wing policies, and the crashing of the UK economy are illustrations of why. People across Monifieth and Sidlaw are facing sky-high energy bills, rising mortgage costs, food inflation eating into family finances, and wages losing value as the days go on.

For many, voting Labour might seem like a logical conclusion to get rid of this failing Tory Government - but this Labour Party, rather than being a real alternative to the Tories, are just a pale imitation. They've backtracked on so many of Keir Starmer's leadership pledges that it's hard to keep track - and the latest u-turn is the most emblematic of Labour's lurch to the right.

Labour now agrees with the heinous Tory two-child benefit cap and associated rape clause.

This policy was introduced in 2017 by the Tory Government, and according to the Child Poverty Action Group is plunging 1.1 million children into deeper poverty. Abolishing it would lift 250,000 children out of poverty immediately - including thousands in Scotland, and many in Monifieth and Sidlaw. The rape clause forces women to prove they were raped, or victims of coercive control, to qualify for support for a third child.

I and the SNP want to see these barbaric policies scrapped. Not only because doing so would lift 250,000 children out of poverty overnight - but because it would end the injustice of women being forced to re-live their traumatic experiences to qualify for the meagre support offered by Universal Credit and other benefits.

So I wrote to one of the North East Scotland Labour MSPs, Michael Marra, to ask him to condemn this disgraceful acceptance of poverty by the Labour Party.

I waited several days for a response from Mr Marra. During this time, several of his colleagues, including fellow North East Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba, condemned the new Labour position.

When I finally did get a response, only after Mr Marra's office had been contacted by The Courier Newspaper, it was weak, and failed to condemn the Labour leadership for their decision. Instead it parroted the both-sides approach put across by Anas Sarwar, who initially supported Starmer's new position.

All of this has left many asking: what is the point of a Labour Party that won't act to lift children out of poverty?

What is the point of a Labour Leader who prioritises cosying up to big business over supporting struggling families?

And what is the point of a Scottish Labour Party that won't stand up to UK Labour on an issue as fundamental as child poverty?

Here in Scotland, the Scottish Child Payment is now providing £25 a week to families of eligible kids under 16 - and not one family on this benefit will have support capped at two children, or be forced to prove they were raped or the victim of coercive control to qualify.

Taken along with the range of other anti-poverty measures introduced by the SNP Government, an estimated 90,000 children in Scotland will be lifted out of poverty this year.

I know some voters will be thinking that a Labour Government is the answer to 13 years of Tory rule.

But when Labour will continue so many disastrous Tory policies, on Brexit, tuition fees, welfare, and so much more, are they really an alternative?


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