‘Sir Kid Starver’: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer criticised for benefits u-turn - nickname explained

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Sir Keir Starmer has been given an unflattering new nickname

Sir Keir Starmer has been awarded a new nickname on social media, following his decision not to scrap the two-child benefits cap, which took effect in 2017. DWP figures show 1.5 million children have been affected by the limit but the Labour leader believes it is not fiscally credible to make unfunded spending commitments.

In response to the decision, many people took to Twitter to criticise Starmer with a certain unflattering phrase rising up the trending list. Here’s everything you need to know about the meaning behind the ‘Sir Kid Starver’ nickname and why the two-child benefit cap has come under criticism.

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What is the two-child benefits cap? 

Introduced by George Osborne in the Budget following the 2015 General Election, the two-child benefits cap aimed to make cuts in welfare spending and to encourage recipients to consider the financial choice of having children.

The measures prevented parents from claiming child tax credit or universal credit on a third or subsequent child born after April 2017. Exceptions to the cap include multiple births or non-consensual conception.

Why has there been opposition to the two-child benefits cap?

Leading children’s charities including Child Poverty Action Group, Barnardo’s and Save the Children, and organisations such as Church of England and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have called for the policy to be abolished.

Critics have argued the policy has an adverse affect on the welfare of children and rather than lifting children out of poverty, it has become a ‘driving force’.

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In 2019 the Work and Pensions Committee published a report on the policy, recommending it be abandoned by the Conservative government. The Committee forecast that the policy would lead to significant increases in the numbers of children living in poverty, and that it would disproportionately impact minority groups.

Meaning behind ‘Sir Kid Starver’

Many on social media have been vocal over Keir Starmer’s decision against scrapping the two-child benefit cap. Some have highlighted that Starmer’s views are inconsistent with other members of the party.

In June, shadow work and pensions secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, condemned the policy as “heinous” and John McDonnell, who served as Shadow Chancellor under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said described the policy as a “grotesque injustice”.

Whereas, in February 2020, Starmer said he wanted to see the legislation scrapped.

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