ANAS Sarwar has made a ridiculous excuse for Labour’s decision not to scrap the two-child benefit cap - claiming that changing the policy would risk a repeat of the disastrous Liz Truss mini-budget.

The Scottish Labour leader claimed there were fears of repeating the financial mismanagement imposed by Truss and then-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, which saw inflation rise, the pound collapse and a hike to mortgage interest rates.

Sarwar said that scrapping the controversial benefit limit on parents with more than two children could “spook the markets”.

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It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “not changing that policy” in regard to the benefit cap if the party wins the next election. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper also defended Labour’s plan to keep the Tories' two-child benefit cap, which has repeatedly been blamed for pushing families into poverty.

Some Scottish Labour MSPs, on the other hand, were furious at Starmer’s policy decision.

The SNP said Sarwar’s comments and Starmer’s U-turn on scrapping the policy were “incredibly disappointing”.

Sarwar said the fear of getting fiscal policy wrong with a repeat of the mini-budget is preventing Labour from scrapping the benefit cap.

The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar speaking during the launch of the Labour party's mission on cheaper green power, setting out policies on clean energy, at Nova Innovation, Edinburgh. Picture date: Monday June 19, 2023. PA Photo. Party leader Sir

The two-child cap prevents parents from claiming Universal Credit or child tax credit for a third or additional child born after April 2017.

Claimants who conceive a third child through rape can be given an exemption to the two-child rule, but the policy has been highly controversial since it was introduced by ex-Tory chancellor George Osborne.

Sarwar told The Scotsman: “I will continue to urge them [UK Labour] to move as fast as they can to address the issue of the two-child cap, but cognisant of the fact that they have to do it within the fiscal rules that are set because we cannot have a repeat of the Kwasi Kwarteng/Liz Truss budget that means if we get it wrong, and we spook the markets, it means higher interest rates, higher inflation and higher mortgage payments for people across the country."

“I continue to believe that it is a heinous policy that is doing damage to families across the country and that it is exacerbating poverty,” he added.

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“I know that my colleagues in the UK party continue to believe that as well. But what they are being upfront and straight about is we have to look at the financial circumstances that we’ll find ourselves in.

"What they have done is they’ve committed to reforming Universal Credit.

“They recognise this needs addressed, but what they have not yet done is set a timetable for when that can be addressed because of that economic climate. I think that is a sensible approach.”

Sarwar insisted that Labour are right to make clear to voters that the party won’t be able to do “everything that we want to do or need to do” immediately.

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“We have got to be honest with people and say we don’t know the state of the economic carnage that the Conservatives are going to leave for us if we get elected,” he said.

"We are not going to be able to fix everything straight away and we’re not going to be able to do everything that we want to do or need to do because of the state of that financial crisis.

“I think having that grown-up approach most people will recognise and appreciate.”

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When The National contacted Scottish Labour for comment, we were directed to comments made by Sarwar to the Daily Record clarifying his position.

He claimed that he will "press" Starmer to lift the benefit cap and that Scottish Labour are opposed to the policy and their position has not changed.

“What we recognise is an incoming Labour government will inherit economic carnage and that means we will not be able to do everything we want, and we won't be able to do everything as fast as we want," Sarwar said. 

The National:

“But we will continue to press any incoming UK Labour government to move as fast as they can within our fiscal rules to remove this heinous policy."

Senior Scottish Labour figures including MSP Monica Lennon (pictured above) attacked UK Labour’s failure to commit to scrapping the cap on Sunday.

Lennon bluntly said that it was the “wrong policy” and urged members to fight against Starmer’s agenda, while MSP Mercedes Villalba pointed out Starmer was elected on a pledge to get rid of the two-child cap.

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On Monday, Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that the party must be “clear about what we can fund” as she emphasised the party’s focus on economic responsibility.

“We opposed it when it first came in,” Cooper (pictured below) told Sky News.

“And we have pointed out a whole series of different things that the Conservatives have done that are damaging, but we’ve also been really clear that anything that we say has got to be funded.”

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SNP MSP Collette Stevenson said Labour “can never justify” U-turning to support a “cruel policy” that is pushing families and children into poverty.

“Their current chaotic policy decision-making has left their own members criticising this recent U-turn,” she said.

"It's incredibly disappointing to see Keir Starmer's Labour Party so intent on proving their Tory credentials that they are now trying to defend such immoral and harmful policies, when they once stood alongside SNP politicians to fight the Tories on the issue.

"People across Scotland deserve better. The SNP will always take action where we can to reduce and eradicate poverty, but it's clear that only independence will allow us to end cruel Tory policies for good."