Stuart McMillan MSP and Ronnie Cowan MP have condemned changes to child tax credits and a controversial provision known as the “rape clause”.
The welfare changes, which were announced in 2015 and came into effect from 6 April, limit tax credits to the first two children in a family, with exceptions for children born as a result of “non-consensual conception” – forcing the mother to prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or during an abusive relationship.
The debate took place in on Tuesday in the Scottish Parliament, where the SNP’s motion to oppose the UK Government’s imposition, with amendments from Labour and the Greens, was backed by 91 votes to 31.
Commenting, Stuart McMillan MSP said:
“Asking a woman to prove that her child was conceived as a result of rape is utterly appalling and must be one of the most abhorrent policies ever to emanate from Westminster. The trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape is unthinkable.
“The two-child limit will drag over 200,000 more children below the poverty line, leaving working families unable to make up for the cut.
“That the Tories haven’t even attempted to consider how these changes will affect some of the most vulnerable women and families in this country demonstrates a contemptible lack of compassion and human decency.
“It takes a special kind of twisted logic for the Tory leader in Scotland to call for the Scottish Parliament to protect families from the vindictive policies of the Tory Government in Westminster.
It’s time for the Tories to realise their mistake and stop this policy in its tracks now.”
Ronnie Cowan MP said:
“As I’ve previously stated, the ‘rape clause’ is one of the most heinous and despicable polices brought forward by any Government.
“Having women relive the trauma of being raped, simply to claim tax credits is repugnant, repressive and regressive.
“The Tories are completely isolated on this issue and must see the outrage it has caused and ultimately scrap the clause. They could have admitted their mistake and amended this tawdry piece of legislation but it strikes me that the Tory government is not going to be seen to back down on any subject, is not prepared to listen to alternative views and is belligerent in its response to criticism no matter constructive or how well intended it is.”