Child Tax Credit and May’s ‘Rape Clause’

Readers in the UK will no doubt be aware that as part of measures to try and save money prior to the possible disappearance of the UK economy down a large black-hole post-Brexit, Theresa May and her Tory Government have reformed the child tax credit system.

Child tax credits (or at least the child element of the new universal credit system) will now only be available for two children, except for certain exemptions. These include cases of:

  • Adoption
  • Kinship care
  • Multiple births
  • Rape

It is the latter that has drawn criticism from a number of sources, as women to whom the fourth applies will have to fill in an eight-page document, disclosing their situation to government officials in order to receive the benefit.

In so doing, women will be forced to relive what are likely to be traumatic and difficult experiences. It is a violation of their privacy to have to do this.

Whilst it will not be Department for Work and Pensions employees who assess the claims, but a Third Party (such as social workers, etc.), no training has yet been provided to DWP employees. Neither are Third Party organisations falling over themselves to take on this work.

Theresa May has defended the policy on the grounds that it is about fairness – people on benefits should be faced with the same choices about the size of their families as people supporting themselves solely through work.

But, of course, in a society with vast wage discrepancies, this is a complete load of nonsense. Is it fair that some people are born into wealthy families? That they will be able to go to better schools because their parents can afford to move near to them, or better yet, pay to school them privately? Is it fair that those same people can more easily afford university education? Or that they will then be able to take up the unpaid internships that are now pretty much a necessity for obtaining one of the better jobs this society has to offer? Is it fair that some people are randomly struck down by cancer? Or dementia? Or serious injury? Or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Or depression? Or anxiety? Or any of the other things that might impact one’s ability to hold down a job?

Info about the reform.

Commentary from the Huffpo.