April
22
2020
Author
Jubilee+ Team
Groups call for urgent changes to Universal Credit

Martin Charlesworth, on behalf of Jubilee+, has today signed a letter to The Guardian urging Government ministers to drop the benefit cap and two-child limit on Universal Credit immediately.

The letter was authored by the Child Poverty Action Group, and Jubilee+ is one of 50 signatories, alongside faith leaders, family support agencies and other national charities.

"The government’s rationale for the [two-child] policy", the letter explains, "is that parents claiming UC or tax credits should face the same choices about the number of children they can afford as those supporting themselves solely through work. But the current national crisis has exposed that argument as untenable. Even in normal times, no parent can be sure that their financial security will withstand unpredictable events such as illness, bereavement or redundancy. Certainly no parent could have had foresight of Covid-19, and so planned their family size accordingly."

Similarly, in the current crisis, "most parents [can't] simply find a job (if one was available) or work more to escape being capped, given school closures, reduced childcare provision and social distancing."

Jubilee+ has long been campaigning on these issues, but the problem has become even more acute in recent weeks, and is affecting many more families, pushing those who had been in work into poverty for perhaps the first time.

The letter concludes:

"The pandemic has exposed the benefit cap and two-child limit as inherently arbitrary, when what is needed – during the pandemic and beyond – is a safety net that is strong, compassionate and just. We urge ministers to lift the policies now."