Two-child benefit cap is ‘key driver of child poverty’ in UK, research suggests

Study finds strong correlation between local child poverty levels and percentage of families affected by cap

Local child poverty rates across the UK correlate very strongly with the percentage of families affected by the two-child benefit cap, research has found, indicating that the controversial policy is a key factor behind children growing up in deprivation.

The study, carried out by Loughborough University for the End Child Poverty Coalition, will heap pressure on Labour over the party’s refusal to abolish the cap, which limits universal credit and child tax credit to a family’s first two children, if they come into power.

The limit can cost families more than £3,000 a year for each additional child, with earlier research showing scrapping the policy would take 300,000 children out of poverty around the country.

The new study was based on existing government statistics for children living in low-income families – defined as those with incomes below 60% of the local median income – but adjusted these for housing costs to avoid underestimating poverty rates in places such as London.

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