Labour disarray over two-child benefit cap shows need for welfare devolution, Scottish Greens say
The Scottish Greens have called for the full devolution of welfare powers in light of Keir Starmer’s recent comments about the two-child benefit cap.
The Labour leader said on Sunday that his party was “not changing” the policy which limits benefits claims to the first two children.
It has caused considerable unrest in his party, with MPs and MSPs from across the spectrum speaking out against the position.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar described the two-child cap as “heinous” and deputy leader Jackie Baillie said she would “do everything in my power” to get the party to scrap it.
Green MSP Ross Greer has now accused Starmer of abandoning “progressive and radical promises” he made while running for Labour leader.
He said: “What could be worse than knowingly plunging even more families into poverty? Yet that is exactly what he has committed the Labour Party to do.
“We have used the limited levers available to the Scottish Government to lift 90,000 children out of poverty, but we could do much more if powers over more of the social security system sat here, rather than with the cruel elites at Westminster.”
He added that if the powers were handed to the Scottish Parliament, the Greens would move to “abolish the two child cap and rape clause without delay”.
But Keir Starmer, speaking at a Tony Blair Institute for Global Change event alongside the former Labour leader yesterday, insisted that making “unfunded commitments” ultimately placed the burden on working people.
First Minister Humza Yousaf called on Sarwar to encourage his UK Labour colleagues to scrap the policy. He said: “The two-child limit is cruel and should be binned. If Anas Sarwar truly has any influence with UK Labour, he will tell Starmer to do another U-turn and scrap it.”
Labour's policy body is set to meet at the weekend, where the position is expected to be challenged.