This in response to someone on my social media that opined the proposed three child benefit cap unless the woman was raped, sneaked in with the 2017 Budget, was a good idea, because ‘people should not have children they can’t afford’. Thousands have already signed a petition against this staggering piece of ‘legislation’ and has been crowbarred in despite a UN request to justify this decision, as it is a breach of ‘how the UK complies with the convention on the rights of the child‘, in May 2016. The petition is now closed and this was the Government’s pallid and mealy mouthed response:
The Government remains committed to putting welfare spending on a more sustainable path to make the system fair for those who pay for it as well as those who benefit from it. The Government wants to move from a low wage, high tax, high welfare society to a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare society. That means more emphasis on support to those hardworking families on low incomes by reducing income tax through increases in the personal allowance and increasing wages, than on topping up wages through tax credits.
At Summer Budget 2015 the Government announced that in future, all families – those in receipt of benefits and those supporting themselves solely through work – will be faced with the same sorts of financial considerations when making decisions about the number of children in their family. This means that families will no longer be able to claim additional support through Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit for third or subsequent children in a family where the child is born, or in Universal Credit joins the family, on or after 6 April 2017. In addition, families making a completely new claim to Universal Credit after 6 April 2017 will no longer be entitled to support for their third or subsequent children.
Where families already receive Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for children before 6 April 2017 they will continue to receive it in respect of those children whilst they remain entitled to benefit and responsible for the children. Because of these transitional arrangements there will be no cash losers from this policy.
The policy to limit support in Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit does not dictate how many children a family can or should have. It simply restricts the additional means-tested support available from Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit, reflecting the need for those benefits to be affordable for the taxpayer. We will still provide support for every child through Child Benefit. The Government has previously made clear that it will not cut Child Benefit. Families will therefore also continue to be entitled to Child Benefit regardless of the number of children or qualifying young persons for whom they are responsible. Currently, Child Benefit is worth £20.70 per week for the first or only child and £13.70 per week for second and subsequent children. [My italics.]
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced at Summer Budget that HMRC and DWP will develop protections for women who have a third or subsequent child as a result of rape. This exemption is clearly a very sensitive and complex issue and the Government recognises the concern about how it will work in practice. On 27 January, the Minister of State for Welfare Reform announced that the Government’s intention is not to focus on, or pre-empt, criminal justice outcomes but to ensure that mothers receive the help they need at the time they need it, using clear criteria that are straightforward to apply and not overly intrusive, but which secure the system against abuse.
The Government’s intention is that this exemption will not be tied to the criminal Justice System. Women will not be forced to “prove” that they have been raped in order to avoid losing tax credits – the exemption will ensure they continue to be eligible for Child Tax Credits and the Child Element of Universal Credit for any third or subsequent children.
A significant amount of work is needed to take forward and develop the detail of this exemption. The Government is considering how best this exemption could be delivered, while striking the balance we need to achieve. The Government is considering whether a third party evidence model, which is used elsewhere in the benefit system, offers the most promising approach for this exemption.
We will be speaking to stakeholders about how best this protection can be delivered to ensure that the process is as compassionate and supportive as possible for claimants in these circumstances, while providing the right assurance to government that the additional support is going to those for whom it is intended. We would be interested to hear from any stakeholders with an interest in this area. This exemption will be developed and brought forward in secondary legislation following engagement with stakeholders in time for April 2017.
Frankly I don’t give a flying f**k about stakeholders. I give a f**k about the 1000s of women this is going to screw over. The document below makes it clear women will NOT be able to claim if they are still living with the father of their child/children (see page 2). And no, it doesn’t mean Child Benefit will still apply, Gov.uk have still not updated their page since March 2017 BEFORE these rules came in. I look forward to stealth changes to that page with interest. The independent entitledto wesbite have already stated the changes to Universal Credit, of which Child Benefit WILL become a part of, and there WILL be changes:
Universal Credit changes
From 6 April 2017 Universal Credit will be limited for some new births – if you are already claiming Universal Credit and have 2 children there will be no increase for subsequent children born on or after 6 April. New claims for Universal Credit from families that already have more than two children will be redirected to Tax Credits until November 2018, including people in UC full service areas.
If your eldest child is born on or after 6 April 2017 you will not be eligible for the ‘first child premium’ in Universal Credit – a higher rate of child element for the first child – which means the child element for the first child will be the same rate as for the second child.
There will be a reduction in the taper rate to 63% from 10 April. This means for every £1 you earn over your work allowance (if you are eligible for one) your Universal Credit will be reduced by 63 pence instead of 65 pence as it currently stands. The entitledto benefits calculator shows you your entitlement using the current and the new taper rate so you can see how this change will affect you when it is introduced.
So that’s another lie IN WRITING by the Conservative government then. Qu’elle surprise… the rate of Universal Credit WILL change.
The form to fill in now exists. Here is the front page and the rest of the document can be found here.
I even got called a ‘libtard’ by some random in the US when I was Tweeting Bernie Sanders on this matter on International Women’s Day, for thinking it was a bad idea, to which my reply was somewhat less circumspect.
As the person saying this on my other social media is an actual friend, I bothered to sit down and explain to him why I thought he was wrong.
******So while I picked my jaw up from the floor, I composed this reply. It has been edited here and is cited as much as possible but is an opinion piece and as such does have a slant in the context of being written to persuade the person.******
I never said they were forcing sterilisation [the respondent wrongly suggested that was what I was I was suggesting] . But I can see it going that way as the as-close-to-100%-methods of not getting pregnant again after having two children are
- getting sterilised (and when I Google this for figures tellingly the entire first page of results are for WOMEN ONLY.)
- becoming celibate. Here is an article listing possible pros, cons and societal consequences of doing this.
And as I said above [ to which he was responding], it’s obvious what they are trying to do, catch the ‘scrounger’, (for an LSE study on how harmful this term is, look here )catch those ‘women who pop out kids like sweets’ (thanks tabloids for decades of THAT narrative, for example here when the simile used is ‘like pigs’) when %age wise who it is going to affect are those who had more than 2 kids and were NOT claiming off the state, then they lose their jobs (in this climate almost 2% likely apparently, and that is a VERY ‘meaned’ out average) or a partner dies (the ONS says ‘There were 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2015, an increase of 5.6% compared with 2014’) or gets divorced- apparently 42% likely but will try and find a more modern citation, this is from 2012-3, they try and claim and this is what happens.
The ONS also shows how few in terms of millions even have dependent children, compared to those that do not, and that’s families and lone parents (and it is this latter this law will affect the most).
The lone parent figure, which is the ‘usual’ equivalence when the narrative speaks of ‘women pop out kids’ is trivial compared to the other demographics.
My cousin is one example, she’s never been on the dole in her life, has three kids, has a brill husband who has a well paid job. She decided to be the homekeeper and stop ‘work’ (like being at home with 3 kids isn’t work!) after nearly three decades of ‘paying in’. And yes her kids are all by him. If gods forbid something happened to P [redacted], then she’d be stuffed till they were all old enough to go to school. Child care costs tend to wipe out one person’s wage entirely, often up to £1000 a month sometimes more, as is happening to my brother and his wife, who have 2 kids and who also have never been on the ‘dole’ and who have ‘paid in’ for decades. So getting a job would be pointless for her. Here is a handy little calculator to see if you are in a similar boat! Even once they were all school, it’d be no fun.
And if you don’t think the 3rd kid isn’t going to be called ‘rape kid’ and bullied you’ve not been round kids a while have you? [ I said to him.] I’ve seen kids bullied for having ‘NHS specs’ or the ‘wrong trainers’ for crying out loud, [ I work in education so yes this is anecdotal, but here are some bullying figures from the UK where it states 1.5 million young people (50%) have been bullied within the past year. And that 145,800 (19%) of these were bullied EVERY DAY] you think kids aren’t going to pick up on this?! The very fact they have brought ‘proof of rape’ in as a qualifier, when the amount of rape cases that get to trial- 5.7% (which will be the ‘proof’ the woman will need) is risible, is reprehensible.
As this penalises women for the most part, not men, for having sex without precautions to prevent that 3rd child, then yes it punishing women and their genitalia, because it’s not (cis) ‘men’ that have children (basic Biology!), they can still go round f*cking as much as they want with no consequences. I can also see the following happening:
- the amount of false claims by desperate people rising, which affects genuine victims of rape and ruin the lives of the falsely accused
- a rise in abandonments,
- a rise in families breaking up as you can’t claim if you’re living with the person: homelessness, poverty, the stress of reliving the rape…
- a rise in unavoidable child neglect,
- a further rise in parents going without food to feed their kids,
- a further rise in kids going to school with no food and ragged clothes.
Contrast this with the new Labour policy pledge from which I received an email from SC Education Minister Angela Rayner this morning of:
By adding VAT to private school fees, effectively removing what is a reprehensible charity status they currently have. THIS is one way to provide care for more disadvantaged children after they’re born, not this new rape clause.
Saying if you can’t afford kids don’t have than is all very well, [ I replied to him] and I followed that myself, for me. I also think having kids is not a right. And I have been celibate on and off for years for that exact reason because the best way to not have kids is not not have sex. But for the amount of people it will affect (as all dolys are NOT popping out kids like smarties) and the cost of bringing in such a system, it’s not going to save any money any more than the new PIP system has (quite the opposite) so why do it? To penalise the poor, and poor women especially, or the very people the benefits safety net is supposed to help- those who were doing ok, not ‘scrounging’, till something happens in their lives to make them dependent on the state. Government figures prove too that 86% of women, who have not been ‘sleeping around’ or ‘popping kids out like sweets’ are already adversely affected by our economy, then this IMO is one slap in the face too many.
If just two large companies, say Amazon and Apple, paid their f*cking taxes properly then we wouldn’t even be thinking of attacking the poor like this. Or maybe we would, can’t have ‘dolys’ scrounging then spending it all on flat screen tellys, booze and fags, can we?
And oddly enough this just came up in my feed. [ I continued my reply.] Not the biggest HuffPost fan but I utterly agree with this: ? EVERY SINGLE THING in that article has happened to me, only I don’t smile and wave about it. The fact I have made a fuss has even made me lose my job more than once, cos it’s ‘just a bit of fun’ or ‘you’d like it if you weren’t a b*tch/ sl*g (how does THAT one work)/ frigid’ etc…add that to this law, and like it’s not bad enough being raped in the first place, and we have an utterly foul rhetoric here, and very much some slippery slope legislation, little different to the cr*p going on in the US where women aren’t even being allowed to have terminations… using similarly toxic and very much false narratives of ‘feckless’ women popping to the clinic to ‘get rid’ of a ‘kid’ (no, it’s a foetus) when they’re almost at full term. Why you [ I said to him] can’t see the correlation of such narratives I have no idea.
So picture this scenario:
we have some poor woman, who already has 2 kids, who’s doing ok but not great, and is a lone parent but still working as her kids are school age, then BAM she gets raped by a work colleague (for example) NOT because of what she’s wearing/doing/drinking but because PEOPLE RAPE.
She goes to HR and gets ignored. She goes to the police and f*ck all is done, [no I am not saying ‘all’ police do not take rape allegations seriously] or it doesn’t get to court (see above) or she gets judged and told ‘well you shouldn’t have drinking, should you’ or ‘you shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt’ or ‘you shouldn’t have gone home that way’(not necessarily by the police, but more by society). She may lose her job, due to speaking up, or due to PTSD, so HAS to claim at the DWP. Then she finds out she’s pregnant.
I cannot EVER condone such a law based on whether someone has been raped or not. Have a ‘benefit cap’ provided it’s backed by fair rents and a proper living wage by all means if you must but DO NOT base it on this.
However, the biggest number of people claiming benefits are those who are WORKING but are on SH*T WAGES forced to pay HIGH RENTS through the nose for a dump often not fit to live in, not the trope of ‘Wayne and Waynetta‘ popping out kids expecting everything to be handed to them. And here’s the GOVERNMENT’S OWN PDF that proves this too. On top of that up to 45% of benefits aren’t even claimed. (Yes ok, it’s the Mail, but these figures are backed up, page three of here for example.) So, sure, people are falling over themselves to ‘scab’ from the Government aren’t they…
Here is a breakdown of what ‘benefit spending’ goes on, from ifs.org. (This is the Institute For Fiscal Studies, who are an independent body.) Note 30% of those are for tax credits, given to people on low earnings.
Now it would be foolish to suggest that NO people ever make false claims to the DWP. The Government themselves cite a 0.7% figure, as shown here in this socialist publication. It is also foolish to suggest that tax evasion does not cost ‘us’ a lot more– where are their curbs that infringe their human rights? (Again with the caveat that having children in not a ‘human right’ but ensuring they are well looked after, clothed and educated IS a ‘human right’.) The (New) Labour Party is not immune to tax avoidance, and the line between that and evasion is a very thin legal one. This is how they propose to counter such issues.
Both the SNP and the LP have been lobbying against this ‘rule’ for almost two years, including blocking/ asking for amendments on the ‘Welfare Reform Bill’ that is in process for Royal Assent on 12th March 2017 once the final amendments are considered. For progress on this Bill see the link in this paragraph. To put this ‘rule’ in the Budget 2017 instead is an act that truly confirms Philip Hammond MP’s nickname of ‘The Undertaker‘.
If anyone still thinks this ‘rape clause’ is a good idea after reading this is, in my view, bereft of any empathy and compassion.