SNP MSP Ruth Maguire has called on the West Scotland Tory MSPs, Jamie Greene, Maurice Corry, and Maurice Golden to stop acting as mere mouthpieces for the UK government and oppose the shocking and inhumane two child limit and rape clause.
The family cap limits tax credits to only two children per family – unless the mother can prove that a third child was conceived as a result of rape or during an abusive relationship.
Ruth says the Tories “railroaded through these policies” without a parliamentary debate or vote – leaving many outstanding questions with regards to women’s rights, the impact on child poverty, as well as how the hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals will be trained to assess evidence of rape.
Many sexual violence support charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid have said they will refuse to act as third party verifiers for the UK government, not least due to the trauma and stigma that the rape assessment process will cause both survivors and children of rape.
Ruth said: “The Tory policy that has become known as the rape clause, requiring women to disclose deeply personal information and prove that a third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape in order to claim tax credits, is both disgraceful and disgusting.
“Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories should be thoroughly ashamed of their party but instead they are defending the indefensible welfare cuts coming from Westminster.
“The two child policy will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for hardworking families – driving up child poverty after the UK government scrapped their child poverty targets.
“I will continue to fight these heartless policies and I have written to West Scotland regional Conservative MSPs Jamie Greene, Maurice Corry, and Maurice Golden - asking them to stand up for the dignity and human rights of women in Scotland and condemn these utterly appalling Tory Government policies.”
In response, the West Scotland Conservative's have said: “It is important to revert to the facts on this. This issue stems from reforms to child tax credit. These changes mean that, as of this year, the same rules will apply to people on benefits as to those supporting themselves through working. Something which the majority of people think is fair. It’s also important to point out that current claimants won’t have any reduction in their benefits.
"During widespread consultation on these reforms, the UK Government put in place exemptions to protect women who are faced with very difficult circumstances so they can continue to receive child tax credit for all children in a household. We support these exemptions but there is clearly an obligation on the Government, working with third party agencies, to ensure that these cases are dealt with suitable due care and attention. I have faith that the hard-working DWP staff will do so.
"For example, the DWP has made clear that women in such a difficult scenario will be offered appropriate support from experienced third party professionals who will be able to confirm that exceptions should apply. Any suggestion otherwise is shameful political point scoring on such a sensitive issue.
"The SNP have the power to develop their own welfare and tax credits policy, if Nicola Sturgeon wanted to she could scrap the exemption entirely. However, instead of developing policy for Scotland she is more focused on attacking Westminster.
"If Ruth Maguire wants to change this legislation, then she should direct her efforts at Nicola Sturgeon.”