A CROSS-PARTY plan to help pull thousands of struggling families out of poverty in Barnsley has received councillors’ backing after ruling cabinet members agreed to support a Liberal Democrat-proposed plan to write to the government to end the ‘scourge of poverty’.

A two-child limit on benefits means that families who have had a third or subsequent child after April 2017 are denied up to £3,235 per year per child compared with families whose kids were all born before that date.

It’s estimated that 6,240 children across 1,780 households in Barnsley more than one in ten are affected by the limit, prompting the town’s Liberal Democrat group to propose a motion to the council.

However, it’s believed 15,342 children the equivalent of 29.7 per cent are living in poverty across the borough.

The motion received support at last Thursday’s full council meeting at Barnsley Town Hall, although an amendment was made to the plan which notably included pleas to look at schools’ budgets, children’s homes’ placement costs and families with children with special needs.

Deputy leader Coun Caroline Makinson said: “Barnsley’s Labour group welcome the decision by the Liberal Democrats to accept our amendment and support for the principle of fundamentally rebuilding the broken economy and welfare system.

“It’s welcome to see Barnsley Council being unanimous in its condemnation of 14 years of Conservative failings.

“All views expressed at the meeting were passionate points on what is a very emotional subject, so it’s good to see the whole chamber on the same page.

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“Poverty, and the cost of its impact on future generations, should be addressed.

“However, the gap has not narrowed and instead it’s got bigger.

“We came together in order to lobby the government we owe that to our families and children in Barnsley.”

Council chief executive Sarah Norman will write to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, as well as the town’s MPs to ask for their support to end the ‘cruel’ limit to benefit payments.

Coun Kevin Osborne added: “The Sunday Times, in its annual ‘rich list’, revealed earlier this month that the richest 250 families in country grew their wealth by a total of £44bn last year.

“This comes at a time when 100,000 more people fell into poverty, including hundreds in our borough.

“No child should have to worry but this is a deepening crisis the two-child limit should be scrapped.

“However, it’s no good making spending pledges without checking the books you don’t buy a house without completing surveys and sound finances are a non-negotiable thing to Labour.”

Coun Hannah Kitching, who put forward the motion, labelled Labour’s amendment as ‘a bit wet’ but voted in favour.

“This is something we’re all on the same page with ultimately, so to vote against the amendment would have been pointless arguing about such a matter wasn’t an option,” she told the Chronicle.

“I believe the amendment watered down our original proposal by including caveats but this is a cruel and harmful policy that should be scrapped.”