Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Changes to CTC benefit slammed as “draconian”

Government changes to Child Tax Credits (CTC) which came into effect last week have been described as “draconian” and will drive more people in poverty, MP Mickey Brady has claimed.

As part of the reforming of the tax and benefit system, CTC will now only be paid for a family’s first two children born after 6 April 2017, and any subsequent children will be denied payment.  Until now there had not been a limit to how many children a parent could claim CTC, which is worth £2,780 annually per child, for.  There are some exceptions to the new rule, including children born as the result of rape, however the onus is on the mother to prove she was a rape victim.  Mr Brady says this clause will only serve to further traumatise affected women and claims the new rules will impact most on society’s most vulnerable.

“Changes to the child tax credit system brought in by the Tory government are yet another attack on those most in need, particularly women,” he said.  “This benefit was brought in to help tackle child poverty but now this change in how it is operated by the Tories will actually drive more and more people into poverty.  Stopping child tax credits payments at two children is a crude and crass form of discrimination and social engineering which is not acceptable.

“The clause where a mother can receive child tax credits for a third child if she can prove the child was conceived through rape is disgusting and will only traumatise women further.

“It is a set of changes with huge distributional consequences: tax credit and benefit cuts will mean low-income working families with children will become significantly worse off, while wealthier families stand to gain as a result of increases in the personal allowance and higher rate threshold.  It will also have a disproportionate impact on the North where the average family is traditionally larger than those in England. In all likelihood, these draconian cuts will lead to a rise in child poverty, especially considering slow wage growth.”

Mr Brady advised anyone concerned about the changes to seek the help of a benefit advisor.