Six years in: the two-child limit

Post date: 
06 April 2023

This briefing, from CPAG, End Child Poverty, the Church of England, and the Benefit Changes and Larger Families project, marks the sixth anniversary of the two-child limit.

On 6 April 2017, the two-child limit policy came into force. It meant that any parents having a third or subsequent child after that date would not qualify for additional support through child tax credit or universal credit.

By 6 April 2023, CPAG estimates that the policy will affect 1.5 million children including 1.1 million children growing up in poverty. Their families are missing out on up to £3,235 a year.

As the policy continues to roll-out, more and more children will be affected.

The policy is pushing families into deep poverty. Despite their best efforts, parents are unable to shield their children from the impact of the policy, and this has become even more challenging during the cost-of-living crisis. The impact of growing up in poverty can be lifelong.

Abolishing the two-child limit is the most cost-effective way of reducing child poverty – it would lift 250,000 children out of poverty, and a further 850,000 children would be in less deep poverty at a cost of just £1.3 billion.