THE Prime Minister has been urged to “break with his predecessors” and make scrapping the two-child limit and benefit cap a top priority when Parliament returns in the new year.

The SNP’s women and equalities spokesperson Kirsten Oswald has said the two Tory policies are “unspeakably cruel” and that neither would exist in an independent Scotland under an SNP government.

Latest statistics show that there are around 787,000 households in the UK with three or more children claiming benefits.

Almost half of these are impacted by the cruel two-child cap and "rape clause" policy which means families get no benefits for third and subsequent children.

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A joint report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, Trades Union Congress and Child Poverty Action Group suggested that the two-child limit is the single biggest driver of child poverty.

According to the report, scrapping the two-child cap and benefit cap across the UK would reduce child poverty by 300,000 and lift 500,000 people out of overall poverty.

Commenting, Oswald said that the PM has “made much of his willingness to break with his predecessors and disown key policies which were quite clearly having a disastrous impact”.

She added: “Given the shameful record of successive Tory Prime Ministers on tackling child poverty, he must be prepared to do so again in 2023.

“The Tory two-child limit policy, with its callous rape clause, is the only one of its kind in the world – that speaks volumes.

“Along with the benefit cap, which the Scottish Government will mitigate within its competence, the two policies are unspeakably cruel and must go. Under an SNP government, neither policy would exist in an independent Scotland as we continue to strive for a fairer society."

Oswald continued: “Scrapping them in January could lift half a million people out of poverty before Christmas next year - or hopefully long before then. Both policies are exacerbating child poverty and undermining our efforts in Scotland to tackle it.

“It would also free up money the Scottish Government is using to protect people from the benefit cap in Scotland, which could be used for other things. I am urging Rishi Sunak to perform another Tory U-turn and make abolishing these policies the first thing he does when Parliament returns.”

A Government spokesperson said: “Latest figures show that there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty after housing costs compared to 2019/20. But we recognise that families are struggling with rising prices and our priority will always be to support the most vulnerable, which is why we are protecting millions with at least £1200 of direct payments while our Energy Price Guarantee is saving households £900 on average.

“The two-child policy means families on benefits are asked to make the same financial decisions as families supporting themselves solely through work, including considering our comprehensive childcare offer for working parents and child benefit for all children.

“There are careful exemptions and safeguards in place within the policy to protect people in the most vulnerable circumstances.”