The Rape Clause and Two-Child Limit: explained in 350 words

The UK government introduced its callous two-child limit and rape clause in its 2015 Budget.

The two-child limit prevents parents from claiming child tax credit or universal credit for any third or subsequent child born after April 2017.

With in the details of the two-child limit the Tories buried their cruel rape clause, saying they would “develop protections for women who have a third child as the result of rape”.

It was effectively hidden until SNP MP Alison Thewliss exposed this appalling policy. Nicola Sturgeon succinctly explained the true cruelty of the policy in 2017.

After years of dismissing concerns from SNP MPs, the Scottish Government and even an investigation into the policy by the United Nations, UK Government sneaked out an announcement on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration that the policy would finally be implemented.

On 6 April 2017, the rape clause and two-child limit came into effect without any parliamentary vote, requiring women to fill in an eight-page form to prove they have been raped.

Year after year, the policy has driven thousands of families into poverty and forced women to relive the trauma of sexual assault in order to claim the support they, and their children, need to live. Throughout that time, the SNP has opposed this cruel policy at every avenue.

As of July 2023, over 400,000 households have been deprived of crucial income due to the Tories’ draconian policies, impacting more than 1.5 million children and , sending thousands of families below the poverty line.

A coalition of leading anti-poverty charities have said that the two-child limit ‘robs children of the basic joys of childhood’. Leading parents to take out loans to buy basic items, like school uniforms, and forcing children give up on social activities because their parents cannot afford the costs associated.

Research by anti-poverty charities suggests that scrapping the two-child limit remains one of the most cost-effective way to reduce child poverty. Scrapping the policy alone would help to lift 250,000 children across the UK out of the poverty.

However, Keir Starmer’s latest u-turn, reversing Labour’s opposition and instead committing a Labour government to maintain and entrench the two-child cap and rape clause in the UK’s social security system, means that Westminster is willing to continue to condemn hundreds of thousands of children and families into poverty.

While the SNP invests to lift people out of poverty, Westminster control drags us backwards

After thirteen years of brutal Tory austerity and a hard Brexit that Scotland never voted for, people and communities are facing real hardship.

And now they are seeing that a Labour government is only interested in supporting and entrenching cruel Tory policies, not abolishing them – this is the price of Westminster control.

Unlike the increasingly right-wing and pro-Brexit Labour, the SNP is absolutely clear: we oppose this policy in every form, and will continue to demand its abolition.

And while the UK is suffering the worst levels of poverty and inequality out of neighbouring countries, small independent nations like Ireland, Belgium or Denmark perform significantly better.

With the full powers of an independent country we can rid Scotland of these callous policies once and for all – and begin to build a fairer, more prosperous country. Join us today and help make it happen.