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Children affected by two-child benefit cap to rise over the next five years

THE number of children affected by the two-child benefit cap will rise by a third over the next five years, an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report warned today.

The limit currently affects two million children, with more hit each year because it applies to those born after April 5 2017.

Next year, 250,000 more children will be affected, rising to 670,000 before the end of the next parliament, according to the think tank.

In their general election manifestos, neither Labour nor the Conservatives have vowed to scrap the Tory policy.

The cap, described as “cruel” by campaigners and blamed for keeping children in poverty, was introduced in 2017 and restricts child tax credit and universal credit to the first two children in most households.

The IFS research found that when fully rolled out, it will affect one in five children, rising to 38 per cent of those in the poorest fifth of households.

The cap has helped drive up the share of children in large families in relative poverty from 35 per cent in 2014-15 to 46 per cent in 2022–23, the IFS said.

IFS research economist Eduin Latimer said: “The two-child limit is one of the most significant welfare cuts since 2010 and, unlike many of those cuts, it becomes more important each year as it is rolled out to more families.”

Child Poverty Action Group chief executive Alison Garnham said: “Child poverty in the UK is a national disgrace and the biggest driver of it is the two-child limit.

“It makes life worse for kids up and down the country and limits their future chances.

“Children affected by child poverty don’t have a voice in this election but politicians from all parties have a responsibility to them to show leadership.

“Any government serious about making things better for the next generation will have to scrap the two-child limit, and do so quickly.”

Action for Children chief executive Paul Carberry called the report “yet more shocking evidence of the huge scale of the damage being caused to children and families by the cruel two-child limit.”

“The election presents an opportunity for bold and ambitious action to be taken and for all political parties to commit to ending child poverty once and for all,” he said.

“That must include an increase to the child element of universal credit and scrapping the two-child limit and benefit cap.”

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