Keir Starmer says Labour would scrap two child cap on benefits 'in an ideal world' but costs too high

Keir Starmer says Labour would scrap two child cap on benefits 'in an ideal world' but costs too high

Labour would scrap the two-child cap on benefits “in an ideal world”, Keir Starmer has suggested.

The hated Tory policy is blamed by charities for pushing many larger families into poverty.

Starmer faced a backlash from many in his own party last summer when he first confirmed he would not abolish the cap as a priority he won power.

But in a softening of his position, the Labour leader said he wouldn't scrap the policy "at the moment" due to the dire state of public finances.

Starmer was speaking in advance of a campaign stop in Glasgow today after Rishi Sunak confirmed a general election will be held on July 4.

Keir Starmer will make a campaign stop in Glasgow
Keir Starmer will make a campaign stop in Glasgow -Credit:AFP via Getty Images

Asked by BBC Radio 4 if he would consider scrapping the cap, the Labour leader said: “In an ideal world, of course. But we haven’t got the resources to do it at the moment.

“What I will do, because child poverty is something I am absolutely set against, the last Labour government had an anti-child poverty strategy and we managed to do a huge amount of good stuff on child poverty.

“We will do the same thing and have a child poverty strategy, but there are other elements to it.”

It was previously estimated that scrapping the two-child cap would cost at least £1.3 billion.

A major academic study into the effects of the two-child cap previously found it was a “poverty-producing” initiative over the past six years.

The research also said the policy had no positive incentive effect on employment.

The two-child limit was introduced in 2017 and left an estimated 32,000 households containing 110,000 children worse off.

Starmer was later asked if he is still committed to scrapping the House of Lords as Labour has previously signalled it wants to do.

He said: “I do want to abolish the House of Lords. The question is what are the priorities straight away.”

SNP MP Alison Thewliss said: "If an incoming Labour leader’s priorities don’t consist of scrapping cruel austerity-driven Tory policies, £9,250 tuition fees, and the unelected House of Lords, then what exactly are they for?

"In reality Keir Starmer's Labour Party are prioritising no change at all and are offering nothing to the people of Scotland beyond more of the same.

"We have a rotten Tory government that deserves to be booted out of office, but it is clear that Sir Keir Starmer has no vision beyond the status quo.

"If Starmer thinks, by grace of wearing a red rosette instead of a blue one, he can coast on by in Scotland during this election without meaningfully separating himself from the Tories - he can think again."

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