Carmichael calls for “absurd” two child limit to be scrapped following new data on poverty

7 Dec 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for the “absurd” two child limit on universal credit and tax credits to be axed, following the release of analysis by End Child Poverty outlining the numbers of children affected. The charity’s analysis found that there are 250 children in Orkney and 260 in Shetland affected by the policy, a 6% rate (compared to 9% across Scotland). The overall child poverty rate in Orkney is 20.1%, while in Shetland it is 15.4%.

The two-child limit denies child allowances in universal credit and tax credits worth up to £3,235 per year to third or subsequent children born after April 2017. Research suggests that scrapping the two-child limit is one of the most cost-effective ways of addressing child poverty. In Scotland alone 15,000 fewer children would be living in poverty if the limit was scrapped.

Mr Carmichael said:

“These figures point once again to how absurd the two-child limit really is. If people need help they need help regardless of how many children they have. You cannot imagine a parent being turned away at a hospital if their third child was ill or denied access to a school.

“It should not be for the state to tell people how many children they are allowed – and it is a little ironic that many of those who are the most critical of a country like China which had such a policy are fervent supporters of this sort of thing.

“This policy is a punishment on children through no fault of their own. It is past time the government saw sense and scrapped the limit outright.”

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