Yvette Cooper insisted this morning that Labor must be “clear about what we can fund” as a dispute grips the party over Sir Keir Starmer’s updated position on the two-child benefit cap.
The Labor leader confirmed yesterday that a Labor government would stick with the controversial policy introduced by the Conservatives.
The two-child limit prevents parents from claiming the child tax credit or universal credit for any third or subsequent child born after April 2017.
Sir Keir said on Sunday he “would not change that policy” when asked if he would remove it if Labor wins the next election.
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Speaking this morning, the shadow Home Secretary said: “The last Labor government reduced child poverty and we are also saying again that we have to keep saying how we will pay for things.”
He pointed to a 40 percent increase in child poverty under the Conservatives and insisted it was something the opposition wanted to fix.
“Because we have to tackle child poverty. That’s why breakfast clubs are so important…and Jonathan Ashworth has also spoken about the importance of reforming Universal Credit and having a proper long-term plan,” he said. sky news.
But when asked multiple times if she supports keeping the cap, Ms Cooper evaded the question, insisting that any policy changes must be fully funded.
Ms Cooper said: “We have been very clear. We can only finance it… We have to be clear about what we can finance and that is why Keir Starmer has laid out the position. Because we have to make sure that whatever policy we propose, anything we want to change, anything we don’t like the Tories have done, we still have to say how we would fund it.”
A longtime Labor MP, she noted that the party was opposed when it was introduced, and has consistently pointed to the negative effects, but added: “We’ve also been very clear that everything we say has to be founded.”
In an interview for the Mirror newspaper last month, shadow employment and pensions secretary Jonathan Ashworth called the cap “appalling”.
He said at the time: “We are very, very aware that this is one of the most egregious elements of the system that is pushing children and families into poverty today,” he said.
He added that “the idea that this policy helps people get jobs is completely offensive nonsense.”
Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner tweeted in 2020 that “the obscene and inhumane limit of two children must go away”, linking to research that said it was a key factor contributing to women’s decisions to abort.
Confirmation from Sir Keir that he would stick with the policy has spilled out in a row in the Labor Party.
Labor MP Meg Hillier told the BBC’s Westminster Hour: “Well, I was never comfortable with the child benefit cap coming in… personally, I would be pushing for it to be lifted.”
The labor chairman of the work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms, told the Yo newspaper that “it only makes sense if you think families shouldn’t have more than two children… as time goes on, the case for the two-child limit will become harder and harder to make.”
The decision to maintain the policy also comes as a major academic study on the effects of the two-child limit concluded that the policy has had a “poverty-producing” impact over the past six years.
The research, published Monday morning by academics from the Universities of York, Oxford and LSE, concluded that the two-child limit did not have a positive incentive effect on employment, nor did it reduce fertility among older families. poor.