Labour will assess the fairness of policies like the two-child benefit limit amid a backlash over a failure to scrap the cap, Sir Keir Starmer has said.
The Scottish party members’ opposition to the benefit cap, which prevents applicants from collecting universal credit or child tax credits for a third child, has been rejected by the Labour leader.
Sir Keir has often stated that his party will make a “anti-poverty” commitment rather than making “uncosted” policy reforms.
But following an “in conversation” event with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar at Rutherglen Town Hall in South Lanarkshire on Tuesday, Sir Keir said his party, if elected into government next year, would ensure policies “operate more fairly”.
He told journalists after the event: “There’s nothing to say an incoming Labour government can’t make sure that the policies we’ve got can operate more fairly.
“I think you’d expect that from a Labour government and you’ll get that from a Labour government.”
In order to avoid the benefit cap, the accompanying rape clause, which requires mothers to reveal their kid was conceived as a consequence of rape, was brought up in his remarks.
Sir Keir added: “What we’re being absolutely clear about is an anti-poverty strategy driven by an incoming Labour government will focus on growing the economy and making sure we get that growth in every part of the country.”
Nevertheless, Labour MSPs, including past candidate for the role of leadership Monica Lennon, criticised the Labour leader last month, calling his position “the wrong position.”
It raised concerns about a potential split between Scottish Labour and the UK party, which both Sir Keir and Mr. Sarwar have recently downplayed.
Sir Keir added: “What you’re not going to get is this false sense of division between Anas and me on this. You can see how united we are.”
Additionally, Mr. Sarwar claimed that there was a “really strong ongoing dialogue” going on between the opposing parties.
Tuesday’s conversation with Labour party members saw Sir Keir stating his party’s goal of “shattering the class ceiling” in order to win over working class supporters.
Sir Keir declared that the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election “really matters” to Labour’s hopes of winning the general election before the vote.
“It is of course the first chance that Labour has had to show the progress that we have made over the last few years, and particularly under Anas’ leadership,” he said.
“When I think about where we where when Anas took over to now, it’s like night and day.
“This is our chance to show that progress and expose the fact that the SNP have effectively run out of road. That’s why they’re getting personal.”