WES Streeting has defended Labour’s policy of not scrapping the child benefit cap after former Tory home secretary Suella Braverman called for it to end.

Streeting, Labour's shadow health secretary, told The Independent that dealing with child poverty was “more than just about handouts”.

This was despite him also saying that poverty in the UK was forcing women to have abortions because they cannot afford to keep their child.

Streeting also told the paper about how he grew up in poverty in on east London council estates, detailing how benefits allowed him and his mum to eat.

In contrast, Braverman wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph calling for the policy to be ditched and dedicated her thinking to the late Labour peer, former MP and welfare reformer Frank Field.

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She said: “The truth is that Conservatives should do more to support families and children on lower incomes ...

"A crucial reform that Frank advocated was to scrap the two-child benefits limit, restricting child tax credits and universal credit to the first two children in a family. If they have a third or fourth child, a low-income family will lose about £3200 per year.

“Over 400,000 families are affected and all the evidence suggests that it is not having the effect of increasing employment or alleviating poverty. Instead, it’s aggravating child poverty.”

Labour had been in favour of scrapping the cap – which limits child tax credit and Universal Credit to just two children in each household – but reversed the proposal late last summer with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves suggesting it would be unaffordable.

Asked about Labour’s U-turn on the policy, Streeting (below) said: “I think that the answer on child poverty is all about social security. Of course, that’s part of it.

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“I grew up on a council estate with a single mum, and often the benefit system put food in the fridge and money in the electric meter. I am a product of a welfare state that quite literally fed me and housed me and clothed me at points in my life.”

However, he went on: “I also know that that the answer to child poverty, ultimately, is not simply about handouts, it is about a social security safety net, that also acts as a springboard that helps people into work and with good work that makes the cost of living affordable for everyone.

“That means that if you aren’t doing the right thing, and earning a living and playing by the rules, that you don’t just have enough to make ends meet, but you have enough to do the things that make life worth living. And we’re some way from that from that now.”

When Keir Starmer ditched the plans to scrap the two child benefit cap last July a number of Labour MPs including Stella Creasy, Rosie Duffield, and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, as well as Scottish leader Anas Sarwar, spoke against the U-turn.