When word came earlier this week that Prince William and Duchess Catherine were expecting their third child, cheers went up from royal lovers around the world.
But in many corners of the United Kingdom, the mood was far from jovial, and in fact, downright angry.
That's because of a new rule implemented on April 6 of this year in the U.K., the "two-child limit," which restricts certain child tax credits and universal credit to a family's first two children.
According to the Child Poverty Action Group and Institute for Public Policy Research's calculations, families will lose £2,780 a year (about CAD$4,400) for every child directly excluded by this policy.
And those royals, who are funded by both taxpayer dollars and private money, will still be getting money for their third kid.
So Britons were understandably peeved.
— Alison Thewliss (@alisonthewliss) September 4, 2017
"I'm sorry, Mrs Windsor, but the Two Child policy is still in effect for your grandson, no exceptions!" https://t.co/TAx3kjheTd— April Thompson (@dishgirl4) September 4, 2017
They directed plenty of their ire at Prime Minister Theresa May, who implemented these rules.
But thanks to your policies, they won't be able to claim child support for their 3rd child. How will they survive?— Damon Evans (@damocrat) September 4, 2017
The rules, originally proposed in 2015, were introduced as a way to cut welfare expenses in the country.
A big part of the controversy with these changes in the U.K. is the so-called "rape clause," which states that an exception will be made when a child is "conceived as a result of a non-consensual sexual act (including rape) or when you were in a controlling or coercive relationship," and requires proof of said crime. It's even gone to the UN out of concern for children's welfare.
But even the very basis of the rule, which was introduced by then-Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne with the statement that, "the Government believes that those in receipt of tax credits should face the same financial choices as those supporting themselves solely through work," creates a difficult situation for parents.
Writing in the Independent, columnist Victoria Smith noted the unfairness of celebrating this particular royal baby, while telling other people they can't have the same thing.
"I don't begrudge the Duchess of Cambridge her happiness (once she's past the horrors of hyperemesis gravidarum)," she writes. "I do resent those who'd rather force petty, humiliating trials on struggling pregnant women than acknowledge the inherent value of all third babies. Every child deserves to be welcomed. Every family has a right to their joy."
The timing of this new little Cambridge, just as many U.K. families are seeing their own benefits diminished, could be a reminder of what others will be missing out on.
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