Why are people calling Keir Starmer 'Sir Kid Starver' over benefits cap u-turn?

Why are people calling Keir Starmer 'Sir Kid Starver' over benefits cap u-turn?
Keir Starmer fumbles words while stressing importance of 'oracy'

Keir Starmer has received a new nickname - and it isn't flattering.

The Labour leader has decided not to scrap the two-child benefit cap that was introduced by former Tory chancellor George Osborne in the austerity era if he wins the next general election, arguing that it is not fiscally credible to make unfunded spending commitments

This is despite his shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, condemning it as “heinous” just last month and academic studies showing the cap pushes people into poverty

The benefit cap, putting a cap on benefits a household can receive, was implemented in 2013 with the two-child limit introduced in 2017.

In February 2020, Starmer said he wanted to scrap it in order to help “tackle the vast social injustice in our country”. But speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Kuenssberg show last weekend, he said he would not scrap the cap.

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Later in his BBC interview, Starmer said that “of course” it was worth ruffling feathers within the party to win the next election, saying his “central promise” to members when he took over was to change the party to make it electorally viable.

“The Labour party was created to give working people not just representation in parliament but a government in parliament that can govern on their behalf and change the lives of millions of people for the better,” he said. “I have been changing the Labour party to put us in a position where we are now credible contenders for the next election.”

He added: “My argument is this: What was absolutely plain from last year’s mini-budget is if you lose control of the economy, it’s working people who pay.”

As a result, people took to Twitter to criticise him.

And aside from unflattering chatter on social media, charities have also released statements criticising Starmer for his policy. Lynn Perry, the chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: “Even before the cost of living crisis intensified in 2022, more than one in four children in the UK were growing up in poverty. That just not acceptable in a country with the sixth largest economy in the world.

“Research shows that the two-child limit is one of the leading causes of child poverty. We urge the current government and the opposition to reverse this policy, focus on supporting families who are struggling, and restore hope to the next generation.”

Imran Hussain, the director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: “Any government serious about tackling child poverty will eventually have to confront the cruel reality of a policy that is designed to actively stop poor children receiving assistance to meet their minimum needs.

“Any government serious about strengthening our society and our economy knows child poverty is hugely damaging to public services and public finances. Poverty drives huge costs in schools and the NHS and damages our nation’s skills base, which weakens our economy by many times more than the money saved by this policy.”

indy100 has contacted Starmer to comment on this story.

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