The SNP has described figures showing 190 women declared they had been raped in order to escape the government’s two-child benefits cap as “staggering and shameful”.
UK government figures revealed more than 70,000 families lost benefits worth up to £2,780 a year in the first 12 months of operation of the new two-child cap.
Among those who were given an exemption from the cap, 190 declared a “non-consensual conception”, meaning a doctor or other third party confirmed they had been raped. Another 270 were exempted because they were friends or relatives taking in children who would otherwise go into care.
Campaigners called for a review of the policy, warning that it would pull 200,000 children into poverty, the majority of them in struggling families in low-income work. Ministers insist the cap is being implemented in a “compassionate” way.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss said: “We now finally see the full extent of the Tories punitive two-child cap, which has not only taken away vital support from families with multiple children, but forces survivors of rape to have to endure the trauma of disclosing this just to put food on the table.
“The DWP should hang their heads in shame.”