Church welcomes Amber Rudd's backtrack on Universal Credit

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, has welcomed the scrapping by Work and Pensions secretary Amber Rudd of moves to backdate a benefits cap on families with more than two children.

Amber Rudd has announced a rethink of Universal Credit.Reuters

The proposal to extend the cap to cover families whose children had been born before the two-child limit had been introduced had been heavily criticised for its unfairness. Around 15,000 families would have been affected.

She is also to delay moving 3 million claimants on to the new system following widespread acknowledgments of its failings; where Universal Credit has been introduced there is a sharp increase in the use of foodbanks, according to the Trussell Trust. She said Universal Credit was not as 'effective' or 'compassionate' as she wanted.

Butler, who speaks for the Church of England on issues relating to children and young people, said: 'As a just and compassionate society, we believe that every child is a blessing and deserves to be treated equally.

'So I very much welcome today's announcement that the two-child limit policy will not be extended to children born before the policy came into effect in April 2017. I also welcome the Government's more considered approach to moving people on to Universal Credit from the old benefits system.

'I look forward to working with Ministers to continue reviewing these policies as part of a broader, coherent strategy to reduce child poverty, helping parents to give their children the best possible start in life.'