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UK Tories’ budget would institute ‘two-child policy’

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

LONDON, July 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Britain's Conservative budget, which limits child tax credits to a family's first two children, is unambiguously anti-life and anti-family, say critics on both sides of the pond.

"Based on what I read, it seems as if the British government is trying to use incentives to 'persuade' lower income people to have fewer children," says Dr. William Doyle, an associate professor of economics at the Catholic University of Dallas, adding that he considers these incentives "profoundly 'anti-life.'"

"I hope you would consider it the same here, even if poor people having more children results in more government spending (a tax cut is just the same as a government expenditure from an accounting point of view)," Doyle wrote in an email to LifeSiteNews.

The budget "is a further small step in a very long succession of moves" promoting a "feminist, economy-centred, anti-marriage, de-sexed, anti-family vision of society," according to general secretary of Britain's Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) Paul Tully.

"It sounds like the UK government is implementing a program of stealth population control," noted Clinton Somerton of Canada's pro-life, pro-family lobby group, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC). By limiting child tax credits "to only the first two children born to a mother, they are discriminating against 'subsequent children' by denying them a benefit to which their siblings are entitled."

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Introduced July 8 by Chancellor George Osborne under Prime Minister David Cameron, the first Tory budget in 18 years has stirred controversy for a number of measures, but particularly for limiting child tax credits to the first two children in a family, effective April 2017.

After that deadline, in a measure designed to reduce the nation's £12-billion welfare costs, families won't receive tax credits or housing benefits for a third child or subsequent children, according to a analysis in the Mirror, which styled the budget as "George Osborne's raid."

The child tax credit can reach a maximum of £2,780 per child, states the Mirror, and "they're mostly paid to in-work households earning less than £20,000."

The budget allows for several exceptions – for example, multiple births as twins or triplets, disabled children, and children conceived in rape, "or other exceptional circumstances."

Doyle sees "the new UK tax code [as] part of the European obsession with fiscal austerity regardless of how it affects people's lives."

"One the one hand, there is an incentive built into the new code to encourage low income people to be less free in allowing sexual access to their bodies," Doyle stated.

"On the other hand it provides women with a much greater incentive than before to seek abortions if they continue their 'usual' sexual practices and become pregnant as a result."

Somerton noted that while CLC is not opposed in principle to welfare reform, such schemes cannot be predicated on family size. "While the stated purpose of the UK government's policy may be to reduce welfare rolls, the fact is that certain children will be treated as undesirable and burdensome simply because of the order of their birth in a family," he pointed out.

"Thus some children, based solely on the order of their birth, become the Dalits caste of UK society, and the implied preferential option for dealing with them before they are born will be government-funded pre-natal homicide (abortion)."

"How does this injustice, in principle, differ from the Chinese one-child policy?" Somerton asked, adding, "While it may be less brutally enforced than in China, the chilling effect is still to create a second-class of human beings who are unwelcome and burdensome from the UK government's perspective."

According to SPUC's Tully, the Tory budget's child care and adoption measures reveal the "general anti-family tenor of the budget, and the government as a whole."

"This budget doubles the free (state-funded) provision of nurseries for three and four year olds at a cost of around £5,000 per child per year, and makes further childcare costs tax-free at an estimated cost of £2,000 per child, for 1.8 million 'working families,'" Tully noted in an email to LifeSiteNews.

"The idea is clearly to get mothers back into the (tax-paying) work-force" and to "get children out of the home into state-funded child-rearing institutions, and providing state-funding to encourage this," he contended.

The budget decrees that any parent, including a single parent, on welfare will from April 2017 "be expected to prepare for work from when their youngest child turns two, and to look for work when their youngest child turns three."

Tully also pointed out that there is now a "big push to transfer children from short-term foster care arrangements to adoptive arrangements," at the same time "coincidentally" that adoption has been approved for same-sex couples.

"I wish politicians knew more about how sensitive people are to changes in incentives," observed Doyle, an economist, "and I wish they cared more about creating 'sinful structures' that encourage one of the most brutal and detestable forms of human behavior."

He pointed to Pope Saint John Paul II's encyclical Centesimus Annus as a source for wisdom in these matters.

St. John Paul referred to the "preferential option for the poor" and noted that the Catholic Church teaches that the "state must remedy the condition of the poor in accordance with justice."

The state, however, cannot be expected to solve every social problem, and "the individual, the family and society are prior to the State," wrote the pontiff, noting that "the State exists in order to protect their rights and not stifle them."

CLC's Somerton echoed this. "Government exists to advance the well-being of the people whom it serves," he told LifeSiteNews. "Creating a new structure of economic discrimination against certain children on the arbitrary order of their birth is a step backward."

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