John Swinney pledges SNP MPs will push to scrap 'deeply damaging' cap on child benefits

John Swinney has pledged all SNP MPs returned at the general election will fight to remove the "deeply damaging" two-child cap on benefits.

Unveiling his party's manifesto in Edinburgh today, the First Minister told a room full of activists and candidates: "Let me outline the choice the SNP offers to the people of Scotland at this election.

"First and foremost, we are the only major party arguing for an end to the spending cuts. The arbitrary Tory fiscal rules, adopted by Labour, bake-in more eye-watering cuts."

The SNP is trailing Labour in the polls amid predictions it stands to lose multiple seats across the central belt.

Swinney - who has only been in the top job a matter of weeks after replacing Humza Yousaf - has sought to narrow the gap by warning Keir Starmer will slash spending on public services.

In a swipe at the Labour leader, the veteran Nationalist went on to describe the removal of the two-child cap as a "simple test".

"I have made clear the focus of my Government will be to eradicate child poverty," he said. "The two-child benefit cap makes things worse.

"It is the exact opposite of what the UK government should be doing. Introduced by an uncaring Conservative Government, it is frankly beyond me that the prospective Labour Government plan, to keep this deeply damaging policy."

The SNP leader added: "The future of the two child cap is a simple test. Are you in government to help children out of poverty? Or are you so morally lost, that you push more kids into poverty?

"Our choice – to abolish the cap – is obvious and it is driven by our values."

It comes after the Scottish Labour manifesto published yesterday made no commitment to remove the hated Tory policy introduced by George Osborne.

The party pledged to deliver a "new child poverty strategy" but made no specific commitment to abolish the two-child cap on benefits.

Anas Sarwar said he remained opposed to the policy and hoped it would be scrapped "once financial circumstances allow".

He said: “The short answer is yes. We were right to oppose the two-child limit, we were right to vote against the two-child limit.

"We have worked really hard to only include in our manifesto promises we know we can keep, and pledges we can spend money on right now, that our country can afford.

"As Keir Starmer made clear, and as I have clear, once the financial circumstances allow, we want to move on the two-child limit, and we want to move in terms of reforming Universal Credit."

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