THE SDLP’s Mark H Durkan has welcomed news of the Tory Government’s u-turn on its plan to extend the two-child benefit cap to apply it retrospectively to children born before the policy was introduced in April 2017.
But the Derry politician said it doesn’t go far enough and he reiterated the SDLP’s call for the two-child rule to be scrapped.
The Foyle MLA continued: “I’ve spoken with many mothers and fathers who have been worried sick about the fact that from the 1st February, their third child was to be singled out from siblings and hit by this two child limit rule simply because they were born before April 2017, before the policy was even introduced.
“Over a quarter of children in the North of Ireland are living in poverty.
“As the Child Poverty Action Group stated in their evidence to Westminster “You could not design a policy better to increase child poverty than this one”.
“This u-turn is welcome news for some families but it doesn’t go far enough.
“As well as pushing children and families into hunger and poverty, this partial u-turn now creates two tiers of families with children born after April 2017 singled out and still subject to this punitive policy.
“Tinkering is not enough.
“This cruel policy and the horrendous Rape Clause need scrapped.
“Urgent action is also needed, given the well evidenced hardship it is causing to low income and working families, to reduce the minimum five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit.
“At a time when so many families are being pushed into hunger, poverty and despair they should be able to look to an Executive and Assembly to help them.
“Where do their needs and rights figure in the ongoing standoff between the DUP and Sinn Féin?” he asked.