UK Government welfare policy accused of being 'a clear breach of children’s human rights' | Rent Income Excellence Network news

UK Government welfare policy accused of being 'a clear breach of children’s human rights'

The UK Government has been criticised for continuing with "the harmful two-child limit on child tax credit and universal credit payments".

The Children’s Commissioners for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have written to Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey, to urge a reversal of these policies.

In the strongly worded letter, they say: "Various party manifestos in both the Scottish and Welsh Parliament elections indicate steps that will be taken in the devolved nations towards tackling child poverty, and work has commenced on developing a population-wide AntiPoverty strategy in Northern Ireland as part of the New Decade New Approach deal.

"However, we cannot ignore the fact that any such steps are ultimately undermined by the continuation of the harmful two-child limit on child tax credit and universal credit payments at a UK Government level.

"This policy is a clear breach of children’s human rights including the right to an adequate standard of living. Children should not be penalised for actions beyond their control and shifting the focus of the UK Government’s welfare benefits policy to giving all children, no matter their family circumstances, the same entitlements to state support would be a significant step in reducing the current and projected impact on child poverty.

"We will continue to hold our devolved governments to account in relation to their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil children’s rights, but these governments can only go so far in their efforts to ensure children and their families get the support they are entitled to, while this discriminatory policy also remains in force at a UK level.

"The £20 uplift in universal credit amounts during the Covid pandemic has been a welcome introduction, and one that in our view must be maintained, but a more fundamental consideration of the policy framework that impacts these families is urgently required.

"The cap on welfare benefits and the two child limit currently in force serve to have an unequal impact on families living in poverty and is inconsistent with the commitments made by the UK through the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"This is not the first time that our offices have jointly raised concerns about these policies but no lasting change has been introduced.

"With the focus in the Queen’s speech in May 2021 on ‘levelling up’, there can be no excuse for continuing to breach children’s rights through this discriminatory policy that will continue to harm children and families and prevent them from moving beyond the impact of the global pandemic."