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Rudd bows to pressure and ditches two child cap

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Another government climbdown as Rudd realises two child cap was unworkable

Another universal credit u-turn has been announced after the work and pensions secretary ditched plans to extend a benefits cap on families of more than two children.

Amber Rudd said it was “compassionate and fair” for claimants with children born before the system began in 2017 to remain exempt.

Under the proposals claimants would not get extra cash for more than 2 children, leaving larger families desperately struggling financially.

Charities said the cap was evidence that the government lacked empathy for people on the financial margins.

Announcing the u-turn, Ruud said: "I'm making a number of changes to our welfare system to make sure that it delivers on the intent which is to be a safety net and also to be a compassionate and fair system helping people into work."

She also hinted that a benefit freeze introduced in 2016 might not be renewed when it comes to an end next year.

"It was the right policy at the time... I look forward to it coming off," she said.

Earlier this week it emerged that a vote to transfer three million people onto UC would be delayed.

"We have listened to people,” said Rudd. “We know they want more individual assistance either with getting payments more regularly or having payments made direct to landlords."

"These elements, which could help universal credit work more helpfully for individuals receiving it, are what I'm going to be changing."

The legality of the two-child benefit cap is currently being challenged in the courts by Child Poverty Action Group.

Josephine Tucker, head of policy and research for CPAG, said: "We hope that this announcement will be the first step towards abolishing the policy as a whole.

"Because as time goes on more and more families will still be caught up in it, and hundreds of thousands of children will still lose out on support simply because of the numbers of brothers and sisters they have.

"Not only is that not right in principle, but it's going to cause a serious increase in child poverty."