Two Child Policy Open Letter

OPFS and over 30 other organisations wrote an open letter to the Times about the #TwoChildLimit.

Here in Scotland, we believe that every child should have the best start in life. And yet the two-child limit denies families the support they need from our social security system when they experience tough times, trapping kids in poverty. It’s right to support families when they need it most. The UK government should lift the two-child limit and help all children to thrive.




'The Westminster government’s decision to impose a two-child limit on benefit payments not only stigmatises mothers but sets apart siblings. Anything which sends the implicit message that a child is unwanted, unvalued or less important surely cannot be defended? This policy is having a profoundly negative impact on family life, as well as wider implications for society. It is the worst kind of government policy – judgemental, not based on evidence and is punishing those very families who already live in poverty after years of welfare cuts and austerity.'

- Satwat Rehmen, Director OPFS

Open Letter


New government statistics show 243,000 households have been hit by the two-child limit, which restricts support for children in low-income families pushing many into poverty. The pandemic has highlighted how problematic the policy is: families couldn’t have foreseen such economic turmoil when they had their children, and should be able to rely on the social security system to support all their children in a crisis.

We all want children to have the best start in life, filled with opportunity and hope. Every child needs access to free health care, a good education and a childhood free from poverty. We wouldn’t turn away a sick child from hospital, yet the two-child limit denies families the support they need from our social security system in tough times. The policy particularly affects some faith groups and minority ethnic communities, as well as single parent families.

Last week the Chancellor said that no one will be left without hope. But poverty diminishes hope. As we start to recover from one of the most difficult periods in modern history, we must ensure that children in poverty are not left behind. The government should lift the two-child limit to help all children thrive.


Ruth Erblich, Social Welfare Advisor, AICS;

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham;

Emma Goldie, Head of Casework and Advocacy, Body & Soul;

Ann Furedi, Chief Executive, BPAS;

Andy McClenaghan, Public Affairs and Communications Officer, British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland;

Philip McCarthy, Chief Executive Officer, Caritas Social Action Network;

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group;

Kathy Evans, CEO, Children England;

Azmina Siddique, Policy and Research Manager, The Children’s Society;

Sam Smethers, CEO, Fawcett Society;

Dominic Williams, CEO, Frontline Debt Advice;

Victoria Benson, Chief Executive Officer, Gingerbread;

Graham Whitham, Director, Greater Manchester Poverty Action;

Sabine Goodwin, Independent Food Aid Network;

David Schleider, Trustee, Jewish Community Council of Gateshead;

Jess McQuail, Director, Just Fair;

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind;

Craig Samuel, Scotland Representative, NAWRA;

Jane Streather, Chair, North East Child Poverty Commission;

Satwat Rehman, CEO, One Parent Families Scotland;

Maurice Wren, Chief Executive, Refugee Council;

Gill Walton, Chief Executive, The Royal College of Midwives;

Suzanne Jacob, CEO, SafeLives;

Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive, Scottish Women’s Aid;

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Chief Executive, Surviving Economic Abuse;

Emma Revie, Chief Executive, The Trussell Trust;

Kate Bell, Head of Rights, International, Social and Economics Department, the TUC;

Thomas Lawson, CEO, Turn2us;

Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON;

Lucy Hadley, Head of Policy & Campaigns, Women’s Aid Federation of England;

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, UK Women’s Budget Group;

Jane van Zyl, Chief Executive, Working Families;

Anela Anwar, Chief Executive, Z2K.

“Currently living away from my family support network as a single mum due to being in refuge, being single is hard not having someone to ask for help when needed, during the latest virus pandemic and having kids off school, this has now become much harder to make ends meet even with help of school vouchers as household bill have also increased due to self isolation.”

- Single parent,