Scottish ministers condemn ‘rape clause’ in child tax credit reforms

rape clause, nicola sturgeon

Scottish MPs have condemned the so-called ‘rape clause’ in the government’s reforms to child tax credits.

The recently announced reforms mean that Child Tax Credit will only be paid for the first two children in any family. The changes also mean that women who have a third child through rape will have to prove their ordeal to get an exemption.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the Conservatives reforms “immoral” and “unfair”.

Leading the debate in the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon said, “No woman anywhere should have to prove that she has been raped in order to get tax credits for her child.”

“I actually can’t believe that in 2017 I am having to stand up in the Scottish Parliament and make that argument.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also gave a passionate speech, reading out an email from a woman who had a baby as a result of rape.

The email read, “There is no way I could complete that awful form of shame, no matter what the consequences.”

“Looking back that really could have been the thing that tipped me completely over the edge; the difference between surviving to tell the tale and not.”

Dugdale continued saying, “It’s not the author of that letter, or any other rape victims who should feel shame.”

“It is those, like Ruth Davidson, on the Tory benches here and in Westminster who refuse to act who should feel shame.”

Scottish Conservative leader Davidson was booed during the sitting and heckled with MPs shouting, “disgrace.”

The recent welfare reforms were originally announced by former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne in 2015, but have taken two years to come into effect.

The measures have also come into force despite the Conservative’s announcing that there were “no plans” to make more cuts to welfare.

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