FIFTY Scottish women have been forced to sign the Government’s rape clause, new figures have revealed.

Statistics published yesterday by HMRC showed that 160,930 households and 591,560 children across the UK have been impacted by the Tory Government’s two child cap on tax credits and Universal Credit – 8860 of those households were in Scotland.

A total of 510 women across the UK were in receipt of the “non-consensual conception” exemption, but SNP MP Alison Thewliss warned the real figure could be even higher.

“Every single one of these women has been put in a position where they’ve had to tell a complete stranger that their child was conceived as a result of rape or coercion, just to make ends meet,” she said.

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“Of course, it’s likely that the actual figure would be much higher if women weren’t forced to go through this daunting process.”

Of the 480 households able to apply for exemptions to the cap in Scotland, the majority, 370, were due to multiple births, 50 were because of the rape clause.

Thewliss said the figures painted a “bleak picture”.

“The Tory Government’s own data on the two-child limit and rape clause paints a bleak picture and shows unequivocally that families are suffering financially as a result of the UK Government’s obsession with austerity.

“This is a horrific legacy for any Government. With a new Prime Minister in Number 10, it’s time for Boris Johnson to wake up to this reality, signal a change of direction from his predecessor on welfare and scrap this hated Tory policy.”

Working families were the most affected by the cap with 59% of the households affected since the policy was introduced having at least one adult in work.

The policy was announced four years ago by the then Chancellor, George Osborne, and restricts the child allowance in Universal Credit and tax credits – worth £2780 a year – to the first two children in a family.

It does not affect children born before April 2017.

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Yesterday a letter signed by dozens of academics described the two-child limit “simply one of the most damaging changes to the social security system ever”.

“The two-child limit breaks the fundamental link between need and the provision of minimum support,” they wrote. “It implies that some children, by virtue of their birth order, are less deserving of support.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “This policy ensures fairness by asking families receiving benefits to face the same financial choices as families supporting themselves solely through work.

“Safeguards are in place and we’ve made changes this year to make the policy fairer.”

Labour said Scottish ministers had the power to mitigate the cap. MSP Mark Griffin said: “It’s shameful, SNP ministers should stop playing politics and use the powers they have to protect people.”

Scottish Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “The Scottish Government is doing what it can – this year we expect to spend over £125 million on welfare mitigation from UK Government policies. But we should not have to apply a sticking plaster over cuts imposed by the UK Government.”