THE Tories are continuing to ignore the harm caused by the two-child limit, the SNP’s shadow chancellor has said, after a fresh report proved the “reckless” policy was not influencing families’ decisions on whether to have more children.

Alison Thewliss said the report from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows the UK Government is forcing children across the country into “unnecessary” poverty and the policy is a “failure”.

The two-child limit was introduced by then chancellor George Osborne in 2017 and restricts means-tested benefits to just the first two children in a family.

The report takes a selection of assumptions the Government made when the policy was introduced and debunks them through interviews with families.

When the limit was brought in it was claimed it would influence the decisions made by families on the number of children they plan to have, but the report proved this to be untrue.

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While some participants in the study said there were financial considerations, others explained even though they knew they would be impacted by the cap, they still chose to conceive a further child.

When asked if the two-child limit impacted on their decision-making, one single mother replied: “Not really, no. I always wanted a little boy so I thought just try one more time and I finally got my little boy.”

Another said: “I don’t just have kids to get benefits and stuff like that, I have kids because I love ‘em.”

Another family revealed their Muslim faith took precedence over questions of what they could afford even though they were already experiencing financial constraints.

The report stated: “These participants had differing values to those assumed by the government and prioritised their reproductive aspirations and familial relationships over the potential financial repercussions of the two-child limit.”

Currently the limit only applies to children aged five and under but, every year, more and more families are affected. When fully rolled out, the two-child limit will affect 800,000 families and three million children, the CPAG said.

Glasgow Central MP Thewliss - who has consistently stood against the policy - said the findings of the report showed clear evidence as to why it should be scrapped.

She said: “The findings of these two papers cast serious doubt on the assumptions underpinning the rationale for this pernicious policy. The reports provide yet more evidence that having children is not a consumption choice that can be manipulated by UK government policy.

“Last year the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) showed how around 1.25 million children were being negatively impacted by the impacts of the two-child policy. Yet even after all the warnings, the Tories continue to ignore the harm being caused.

“When this policy was first introduced, George Osborne claimed that it would influence the decisions made by families on the number of children they plan to have. But the findings of the new report have suggested this claim is completely untrue.

“The Tories are forcing so many children across the UK into unnecessary poverty as they refuse to accept that their two-child policy is a failure.”

The report also found the assumption by the Department for Work and Pensions in an impact assessment that people affected would be those ‘‘in receipt of tax credits or Universal Credit who choose to have a third or subsequent child after April 2017” was also wrong, given that for many families the child affected by the policy was unplanned.

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Many also revealed to CPAG that the affected child had been conceived as a result of non-consensual sex or in the context of an abusive relationship.

A single mother-of-five from London said: “Obviously me being pregnant it weren't something I wanted, you know, the situation with me and him, it had to go to Court cos there was some, there was abuse in the relationship.”

Another assumption made by the UK Government was that the limit would improve children’s life chances, but the report found there is a “stark disconnect” between this and the lived reality of families.

The report added: “Given that the assumptions regarding fertility-making decisions are not realised in the lives of many claimants subject to the two-child limit, a significant number of families do conceive a third or subsequent child and therefore do not receive a child element for one or more of their children. This causes considerable harm.”

The research found many people were also unaware of the policy when the affected child was conceived and only found out about it months down the line, disproving the assumption from Government people know about it and so factor it into their decision-making.

CPAG claimed this is evident in the government's explanation of the policy which says: “Entitlement will remain at the level for two children for households who make the choice to have more children, in the knowledge of the policy.”