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Over one in five affected by the Two-child Limit now struggle with basic living costs

  • 11/01/2019

New research from anti-poverty charity Turn2us has revealed that 23% of parents who are affected by the Two-child Limit now struggle to pay their basic living costs.

Of families affected by the Two-child Limit who are struggling with basic living costs:

  • 72% said it affected their ability to pay for food
  • 47% said it affected their ability to pay bills
  • 40% said it affected their ability to pay rent
  • 34% said it affected their ability to pay childcare

The charity warns that the policy is having serious, and unintended, effects on families. The negative consequences of the policy are not just financial, but also emotional and physical in nature.

Quotes from Turn2us clients:

  • “We chose to have our third child while we were both working full time in permanent professional jobs… However my husband has suddenly lost his job… We are now in a situation where we cannot pay all bills and feed our family”
  • “Currently pregnant with third child after contraception failure and having to consider termination”
  • “My third pregnancy wasn’t planned but I was too far gone before I knew I was pregnant to even think about other options (abortion). I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford my third child because of this policy”
  • “I sit and consider who is getting fed today”
  • “It has left us struggling on a weekly basis”
  • “I’m losing a lot of money weekly and as a single mother I’m struggling”
  • “We have always wanted to have a bigger family but it is obviously impossible to feed more children”

The research also highlights that many families are unaware of the Two-child Limit until it is too late. In total only 38% of parents fully understand the policy, while 43% are entirely unaware of it.

Turn2us is concerned that the policy is not achieving its objectives and directly causing more poverty instead. The charity recommends that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) undertakes a comprehensive review of the justification and impact of this policy.

Jamie Grier, Director of Development at Turn2us, said:

“Turn2us welcomes the government’s decision not to apply the Two-child Limit retrospectively to children born before the limit was announced as in these cases families were most definitely not able to take it into account when thinking about having another child. But we believe the government should go further and review the justification and impact of the entire policy.”

“The welfare of children should be paramount. However, the unfortunate consequences of the Two-child Limit are that many children are actually being pushed into poverty.

“Not only are we seeing families being hit hard financially, but in extreme cases some are also considering terminating pregnancies, due to this policy.

“Circumstances change and for many people having a third child isn’t a clear cut choice, or it is a choice they have made when they are better off and not in need of welfare support.”

“This policy has hit people on low incomes hardest, and as we have said before, no child, first or third, from any background, is worth more or less than another.”