Two-child benefit cap influencing women’s decisions on abortion, says BPAS | Benefits

The controversial “two-child limit” restricting the amount that larger families can receive in social security benefits was a key factor in many women’s decisions to terminate their pregnancy during the pandemic, according to a leading abortion charity.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said over half of the women it surveyed who had an abortion during the pandemic, and who were aware of the two-child limit and likely to be affected by it, said the policy was “important in their decision-making around whether or not to continue the pregnancy.”

Some women told BPAS that the combination of economic and job insecurity triggered by pandemic and the two-child limit effectively removed their choice over the pregnancy, persuading them to end a pregnancy they would in a less fraught financial situation have wanted to keep.

“The two-child cap forces people into a corner of knowing they can’t provide versus abortion,” one mother said. “Although I understand it is not the government’s responsibility to be financially responsible for parents having children, I also felt that thanks to this rule I was forced to make this decision.”

Another mother told BPAS: “If there was no two-child limit, I would have kept the baby, but I couldn’t afford to feed and clothe it … I’ve really struggled to come to terms with my decision.”

The limit, which was introduced as way of cutting £1bn a year from the welfare bill, bars parents from claiming the child element in tax credits or universal credit for third or subsequent children born after 6 April 2017. The loss of benefits is worth £2,900 per child per year.

BPAS said even prior to the pandemic there was evidence that the two-child policy was affecting pregnancy rates. There had been a disproportionately large increase in abortions by mothers with two or more existing children between 2016 and 2019 – 16.4%, compared with 10.3% and 7% respectively for women with no or one child.

According to official statistics, 243,000 families had been affected by the two-child limit in the three years to April 2020. Some 900 women over the period were allowed official exemption from the cap after being forced to formally disclose that their child was conceived as a result of rape.

BPAS called for the two-child limit to be scrapped. “If the government does not want to see more women feeling forced into a corner between financial hardship or ending an otherwise wanted pregnancy, they must revoke the two-child limit as a matter of urgency,” said Katherine O’Brien, BPAS associate director of campaigns.

“The two-child limit is a cruel and unnecessary policy which expects families to make impossible choices. The limit now affects over 1 million children and is rapidly driving up child poverty. In the midst of a pandemic and jobs crisis, it is particularly callous to continue to pursue this punitive policy,” said Jonathan Reynolds, Labour’s shadow social security secretary.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We know this is an uncertain time for families which is why we

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Here’s why women’s money decisions will shape the future for U.S.

krisanapong detraphiphat | Moment | Getty Images

The rising economic power of women in this country is one of the most significant financial shifts of recent decades. The bottom line: Women are generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth in the U.S.

Today, women control more than $10 trillion (about 33%) of total U.S. household financial assets. Meanwhile, an unprecedented amount of assets will shift into the hands of U.S. women over the next three to five years, representing $30 trillion by the end of the decade. Why? Because as men pass away, they will leave control of these assets to their female spouses, who tend to be both younger and to live longer.

This is a wealth transfer of such magnitude that it approaches the annual gross domestic product of the U.S.

“This is a huge transfer of wealth in and of itself but, because women traditionally outlive men, women stand to inherit most of it,” said certified financial planner Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “As more and more women have a say in significant financial decisions, it’s easy to see they’re not adhering to business as usual.”

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Why is this a big deal and why should you care?

If you are a brand-name consumer products company, a financial services company, or are in the business of selling real estate, for example, women will be making the majority of these decisions in the years ahead. So attracting and retaining female customers will be a critical growth imperative for your business. To succeed, business of all types will need to truly understand women’s needs, preferences and behaviors when it comes to spending and managing their money.

Women continue to make more financial decisions on behalf of the household and more women are also turning to the investing decisions. In fact, women are leading the field when it comes to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance investing, according to a recent article in Fortune magazine.

In general, a higher percentage of women are interested in ESG investing than men, says CFP Cathy Curtis, CEO of Curtis Financial Planning in Oakland, California. A Calvert/Investment News study showed that usage of ESG funds are up 25% year over year and the trend of ESG investing is more pronounced in women, with 53% doing so currently.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has spotlighted our financial and health-care systems’ inequities as more disadvantaged and poor people are losing their jobs and lives,” Curtis said. “As a result, where the environment was the main focus of ESG investors, social and governance have become critical and are driving the inflows into ESG products.

“As women inherit more wealth from their parents and spouses and sometimes make the investment decisions for the first time in their lives, I predict more money will flow into ESG

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A financial coach explains the 2 key decisions that helped her save $17,000 for a wedding

a person wearing a suit and tie holding a stuffed animal: Alli Williams and her husband on their wedding day. Hayley Pethel Photography

© Provided by Business Insider
Alli Williams and her husband on their wedding day. Hayley Pethel Photography

  • Alli Williams, age 29, started saving for her wedding before she met her husband. 
  • She got the idea after paying off a car loan with a monthly payment of $415. Instead of spending the money, she redirected it into a savings account.
  • Williams said she felt more motivated to save knowing that she was working toward a specific goal.
  • By the time she got engaged, she had around $17,000 saved.
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Weddings are expensive, and Alli Williams wanted to be prepared for hers. 


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Before she even met the person who would stand across from her at the altar, Williams, who is a financial coach in South Carolina, began squirreling away hundreds of dollars a month for the occasion.

Based on a survey of thousands of couples, The Knot reports that the average cost of a wedding in the US, excluding the engagement ring and honeymoon, is $28,000. That isn’t pocket change for most people. In fact, 28% of couples in the US take on credit-card debt or loans to help cover the cost of their wedding.  

About three years after she started saving, Williams got engaged to her husband in August 2018 — and brought a $17,000 wedding fund with her. She says two strategies helped her do it:

1. She redirected a former debt payment to savings

When Williams paid off a car loan in her mid-20s, she decided to redirect her large monthly payment into a high-yield savings account earmarked for a wedding.

Gallery: From $300,000 in Debt to Zero — How Real People Repaid Their Debts Fast (GOBankingRates)

Since she was already in the habit of putting that money aside, “I told myself, ‘OK, that $415, instead of now spending it, it’s going to be my automatic wedding fund,'” Williams said.

By keeping her living expenses level after paying off debt, she was able to not only save around $400 a month, but allocate a set portion of every windfall — a tax refund or birthday money, for example — toward her wedding fund, too.

2. She saved for a specific goal

Williams said she was able to maintain her disciplined savings habit because she had a goal in mind.

“What I always tell my clients is, it’s so much easier than just saying ‘I’m saving money,'” she said, “because when it’s not tied to anything, you’re more likely to pull it back out of savings when you’re not really attached to it.”

People were often surprised to learn that Williams was saving for an event that wasn’t certain to happen, but she didn’t think twice. She knew she’d need money for a big expense someday, even if it wasn’t a wedding.

“There’s no downside to saving money,” she said. “I could have used it for a down payment or bought a car if I needed a car or

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