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Rex
UK News

Government's two child limit on benefits will lead to "increased abortions", claim faith leaders

by Hannah Tooley

A coalition of UK's biggest churches and Jewish groups claim that the Government plans have the potential to split up families as well as put pressure on people trapped in abusive households.

It also says that a cap on two children could disproportionately hurt some families of faith, such as Roman Catholics or orthodox Jews, who traditionally have bigger families.

The alliance, made up of the Church of England, Church of Scotland, Methodist, Baptist and United Reform churches and the Board of Deputies of British Jews amongst others, say that these plans could have huge impacts.

Paul Morrison from the Methodist Church told Premier that: "It is just not right that those children are not viewed as the blessing that we know they are.

"It is not right that people should feel that children are a burden rather than a blessing and it doesn't need to be this way."

The group argues that the change has the potential to damage stable households and even increase abortion rates throughout the UK.

Children are a "blessing" not a burden they say, and they accuse this policy of going against beliefs held by Christians.

Their criticism was sent to members of the Upper House before the next stage of the Government's welfare reforms, soon peers will debate proposals to limit both tax credit and universal credit support to the first two children in a family.

Religious leaders say that this means larger families will be losing out each year.

The Bishop of Durham has written a blog where he claims that this could have wider impacts: "In extreme circumstances, older children may be forced to leave home before they are ready, and large families may break up in order to avoid the two-child limit.

"We are particularly concerned that parents with more than two children who are bereaved or fleeing domestic violence will no longer be adequately supported. Kinship and foster carers, too, may be reluctant to take on this vital role if extra support is not available for additional children, with knock on effects on other areas of public spending."

He concluded that: "I, along with other Christian and Jewish leaders and organisations, will be urging members of the House of Lords to support amendments that would remove or reduce the impact of this measures."

Speaking in The Telegraph, a Government spokesperson said: "The Chancellor has made clear that the government will listen about how we make a transition to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare economy he wants to see, and will announce his proposals at the autumn statement. But the end goal is clear - this country cannot have an unlimited welfare budget that squeezes out other areas of public expenditure."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Paul Morrison from the Methodist Church here:

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