Westminster could scrap cruel two-child limit by following Scotland’s lead on income tax

With the powers of a normal country Scotland could do more to tackle child poverty.

The UK Government could raise an additional £11 billion by implementing Scotland’s progressive income tax reforms, according to groundbreaking research undertaken by the House of Commons Library.

This would be enough to pay for the UK-wide scrapping of the cruel two-child benefit cap and rape clause eight times over. It could also cover the removal of the bedroom tax and other policies currently pushing more families into poverty and would still leave billions to invest into public services like the NHS and social care. 

The research, which was carried out on behalf of Green MP Caroline Lucas and shared with Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer, draws on evidence which shows that people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland earning under £27,850 would pay the same or marginally less than they do now, just as their counterparts currently do in Scotland. Those earning between £27,850 and £43,662 would pay slightly more, rising to those on £150,000 salaries paying around £4,000 more each year.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies previously confirmed that Scotland’s tax and social security system is the most progressive in the UK. Scottish Government policies such as the Scottish Child Payment, funded by this progressive tax system, are lifting 90,000 children out of poverty this year.

Scottish Greens finance spokesperson, Ross Greer MSP said: “I am proud that Scotland has the most progressive tax and social security system anywhere in the UK and that we are using it to lift children out of poverty. The UK Government must follow our lead to help children both in the rest of the UK and here in Scotland.

“We are in a Westminster-inflicted cost of living crisis with a cold winter ahead. It is only fair that better-off people pay a bit more to ensure that we can protect the most vulnerable.

“Our fairer tax system in Scotland has allowed us to deliver vital measures like the weekly £25 Scottish Child Payment, free bus travel for everyone under 22 and compensation for families hit by cruel Tory policies like the bedroom tax. Unfortunately, our ability to go further and help more children depends on a different approach being taken at Westminster.

"Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer expect us to believe that there isn’t the money to scrap the cruel two-child benefit cap and rape clause or any of the other damaging social security measures which have pushed so many families further into poverty. With these simple income tax changes, which are already in place in Scotland, Westminster could scrap its two-child cap and rape clause eight times over.

“Sadly, the Tories aren’t remotely interested in helping the most vulnerable. That is why they have launched attack after attack on the social security safety net whilst removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

“Meanwhile, Starmer’s Labour is breaking promise after promise before it has even had a sniff of power, all while telling us that they have no money to change things. They simply lack the political courage to support the kind of progressive tax and social security plans which Greens have been key to delivering in Scotland. If they followed our lead it would lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty across the UK, including in Scotland.

“So much good could be done with £11 billion. By ensuring the wealthiest are paying their fair share, we can build a fairer society and do even more to support the most vulnerable and the services we all rely on.”