Our joint UK Parliament petition to scrap the ‘family cap’, including the ‘rape clause’, reached over 20,000 signatures in just its first weekend. This demonstrates the huge strength of feeling on this issue from people across the UK. In Scotland we have seen two large demonstrations, and statements of support from the leaders of four political parties, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
The announcement of a snap UK general election for June 8th now means that all petitions which are currently live will fall on May 3rd, rather than staying active for 6 months as is normal. There is now not enough time for the ‘family cap’ and ‘rape clause’ to be discussed in Parliament before it dissolves.
Engender, Scottish Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis Scotland would like to thank everyone who has signed the petition so far. We will be leaving the petition up on the Parliament website, so that people who wish to signal their support can sign it, but it will not have the desired outcome of a debate in Parliament that would enable this harmful policy to be scrutinised.
We will be working to encourage all political parties across the UK to take note of the opposition to the abhorrent two-child limit within the Welfare Reform and Work Act, which affects tax credits, housing benefit, and other entitlements. The 'family cap' will see hundreds of thousands of children and women impoverished. The ‘rape clause’ exemption, for which no third-party referrers in Scotland have yet been identified to us, will make women chose between traumatising forced disclosure of rape and deeper impoverishment. We see the UK general election as an opportunity to call for change in manifestos, debates and throughout the campaign.
We will be sharing details about how our members, supporters, and allies can press for change throughout the campaign. In the absence of a debate on these issues in the UK Parliament, it is vital that all who care about women’s equality use the general election to call for an end to the ‘family cap’ and ‘rape clause’.
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