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Six times Starmer’s team demanded benefits cap be scrapped

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In fairness to Keir Starmer, he only U-turns when his lips move. In an impressive double yesterday, the Labour leader managed to U-turn twice in one interview with Laura Kuenssberg. Starmer managed to both float and then, er, reject the notion that Labour would change the Bank of England’s inflation target (nice one!) while also confirming that the party is no longer committed to scrapping the two-child benefits cap.

This longtime Labour policy appears to have been unceremoniously dropped sometime within the last few months despite both Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner winning their mandates on it. Below is a quick list by Mr S on half-a-dozen Labour frontbenchers who have promised to scrap the cap…

Jonathan Ashworth, June 2023: ‘We are very, very aware that this is one of the single most heinous elements of the system which is pushing children and families into poverty today.’

Jonathan Reynolds, September 2021: ‘Under Labour’s plans – scrapping the five-week wait, ending the benefit cap and binning the two-child limit – 500,000, yes half a million, fewer people would be in poverty right now.’

Ian Murray, March 2021: We could have debated universal credit and the £20 uplift becoming permanent, extending it to legacy benefits, removing the rape clause and helping those most in need.’

Angela Rayner, December 2020: The obscene and inhumane two child cap must go, as must the five week wait.

Wes Streeting, March 2020: ‘Part of the solution for our broken social contract lies in restoring a social security system worthy of the name.’

Keir Starmer, February 2020: ‘We must scrap the inhuman Work Capability Assessments and private provision of disability assessments (e.g. ATOS), scrap punitive sanctions, two-child limit and benefits cap.’

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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