The Bishop of Northampton, Bishop David Oakley, has expressed his support for a private members’ bill aiming to remove the restriction placed on the child element of Universal Credit that has been limited to the first two children since it was introduced through the Work and Welfare Reform Act of 2016.
The private members’ bill was introduced to the Lords by the Right Reverend Paul Butler, Anglican Bishop of Durham and is set to be debated by sitting peers on Friday, 8 July 2022.
Bishop Oakley sees the limit as clear discrimination against larger families:
“I welcome the Lord Bishop of Durham’s private members’ bill seeking universal credit reform, and I would encourage Members from all sides of the House of Lords to support the passage of this important and timely bill.
“At a time of ever-growing social and economic insecurity for families across England, the two-child cap on universal credit places an unnecessary and disproportionate burden on households, particularly for families that have suffered the pain of unemployment or disability.
“Further, it represents an obvious and egregious form of discrimination against larger families and penalises those parents who embrace the joy and abundance of many children.
“As Pope Francis recently informed the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) at their twenty-fifth anniversary celebration in Rome: ‘Every family is a common good and family policies represent not a cost but an investment to guarantee the futures of our societies!’
“Happy and healthy families make happy and healthy societies, and our economic policies should be directed towards their sustainable growth and development.
“Sadly, we can see from the latest abortion figures for England and Wales that there is a very strong correlation between greater levels of local deprivation and higher rates of abortion.
“Families of all shapes and sizes should be protected from social and economic insecurity, and the Lord Bishop of Durham’s bill seeks to take a substantial step in the right direction.”
The Lord Bishop of Durham’s private members’ bill is entitled: Universal Credit (Removal of Two Child Limit) Bill [HL].