The First Secretary said it seemed that the closer Sir Keir got to Downing Street “the further he strayed from the founding principles of the Labor Party”.
The Labor leader sparked anger within his open party and beyond over the weekend after he said he had no plans to lift the two-child cap should his party win the general election.
Dubbed the “Rape Clause,” the measure limits the general child tax exemption and tax credit to the first two children in a family, unless a mother can prove subsequent children were fathered by rape.
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Sir Keir pledged to end the measure when he ran for Labor Party leadership, a pledge that was also included in the party’s 2019 election manifesto.
However, he now says that while he still opposes the cap, given the scale of the economic woes facing the Tory party which Labor is threatening to inherit, it would be irresponsible to promise a repeal.
He has told his shadow cabinet that an “extremely disciplined” approach to the 2024 election will require “tough decisions”.
The SNP has seized on the about-face, claiming it shows that Labor and the Tories are essentially the same.
Mr Yousaf wrote in the Daily Record: “Frankly, it seems to me that the closer Keir Starmer gets to Downing Street, the further he strays from the founding principles of the Labor Party.”
He said Labor should support poorer families by introducing a nationwide version of Scotland’s decentralized child benefit, which is £25 a week per child for low-income families.
He said: “To hear Sir Keir – who wants to be the next Prime Minister – declare after everything Labor has said that he will not give up the ceiling is a massive betrayal of all those Labor members who trust him and have elected “he leader.”
Mr Yousaf said it was “unforgivable” and “frankly an insult to people’s intelligence” to blame the economic situation.
The First Minister’s comments came as SNP research showed that in April more than half of Scottish families (54%) receiving Universal Credit or child tax credits were not receiving financial support for at least one child – 24,160 of which were households north affected by the border .
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In Glasgow City Council area, around 3,990 families were left without financial support for at least one child due to the two-child cap in April – the highest number in Scotland.
In Fife, 1,860 families were affected, followed by 1,830 in North Lanarkshire and 1,530 in the Edinburgh City Council area, and 1,420 households in South Lanarkshire.
Mr Yousaf said, “Any economic plan aimed at keeping children in poverty is not worth the paper it’s written on.” Workers seem to forget that a strong social security system and economic dynamism go hand in hand.
“Not only is it right to support families financially so they can buy essentials, but by increasing their purchasing power, we also support the local economy.”
Mr Yousaf, who has made tackling poverty a key priority since becoming First Minister, said his Government will lift an estimated 90,000 children out of poverty in Scotland this year.
Appealing to Sir Keir, he said: “If you become Prime Minister, SNP MPs stand ready to work with you to end the two-child cap – as well as the Tory’s other insidious welfare cuts.”
“And we will support you to introduce a UK version of our Scottish Child Payment, as poverty activists have asked you to do.”
SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn also urged Sir Keir to “make it clear” what other social cuts Tory Labor wanted to keep in office.
The Times today quoted an ally of the Labor leader as saying: “There will be more of this.” It’s important that people understand that.
“You can’t say that budgetary responsibility is vital and then have a whole bunch of unfunded commitments.”
Mr Flynn said Labor must set out its position on key welfare cuts, including whether they will reintroduce the pandemic-era £20-week increase in Universal Credit, scrap the benefit cap, scrap the bedroom tax, free local housing assistance and will reintroduce the Educational Support Allowance ( EMA)
Research by the Library of Commons for the SNP showed this week that the two-child ceiling has pushed around 20,000 children into poverty in Scotland and around 410,000 children across the UK.
Mr Flynn said: “If Starmer cannot even be trusted to abolish the cruel two-child limit that has plunged thousands of Scottish children into poverty, people will be concerned about what other Tory policy he is willing to take against the to enforce the will of Scotland.” .”
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said this week the “sad truth” is that if Labor wins the election because of its “heavy economic legacy” Labor will see the 40 Tory welfare cuts it has opposed since 2010, costing up to £40bn a year would cost, could not undo .