More bad news on the Budget

// 5 July 2010

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Women will bear the brunt of three-quarters of extra taxes and benefit cuts, according to a gender audit of the Budget carried out by the House of Commons library.

And that does not even include the impact of the astounding 40% cuts in public departments expected across many government departments, reports the Guardian. (Although also take note of one story in the Independent, suggesting the 40% figure is being raised to soften the ground and make stringent cuts more digestible).

Labour’s Shadow Welfare Secretary Yvette Cooper, who requested the audit, said:

“David Cameron promised the most family-friendly government ever. Yet they have just launched the fiercest attack on family support in the history of the welfare state,” she said. “This budget seems to be reaching back to a prewar approach to families. They’ve cut support for children more savagely than anything else so far, with billions of pounds being cut from child benefit, child tax credits, maternity support and child trust funds.”

She said her research showed that women would suffer disproportionately, even beyond the cuts to family benefits.

“Even if you put aside cuts in support for children, women are still more heavily hit,” she said. “Women are more affected by the cuts in things like housing benefit, cuts in upratings to the additional pension, public sector pensions or attendance allowances, and they benefit less than men from the increases in the income tax allowances. Even putting children aside, they are hitting women hardest.”

After looking at other budgets, she believes last month’s must be the hardest on women with Nigel Lawson’s 1988 budget – which abolished top rates of tax and froze child benefit and pensions – coming close.

The Guardian reports the audit found that of an additional £8 billion net revenue to be raised by the financial year 2014-15, almost £6 billion will be from women, while men will pay for £2 billion. This will be raised through direct taxation and changes to benefits.

This comes on top of warnings by Fawcett, that women make up 65% of the public sector workforce and stand to be hit hardest by the LibCon coalition’s ‘austerity’ Budget.

Photo of lego by Paloetic, shared on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Ruth // Posted 5 July 2010 at 7:37 pm

Public sector jobs tend to be – at least in the councils local to me and in my personal experience – much more open to flexible working, job sharing, part time work and of course flexi-time tends to come as standard, unlike every private sector place I’ve ever worked.

Partly, I think, as a result of this, at the level I work (clerical) women outnumber men by a huge amount, especially women with children. So what will happen when we lose our jobs? (And yes, if the cuts are made from clerical level jobs, absolutely it will affect women more than men.)

Go into the private sector, where ime people actually seem to compete with each other as to who can leave the latest, and of course, everyone gets plaudits if they leave after the boss? Work 40+ hour weeks and pay someone else to pick up the kid/s from school (and pay with… with what? With the – frozen – child benefit? Or should we all get our Mums to do it; there was an article here on the F word recently about how unfair that would be to the nation’s grandmothers – besides they’re probably having to work themselves)… and of course, never spend much time with said kid/s because we’re in work or just too tired?

Of course, it would be ideal if private sector organisations were prepared to work like the public sector in terms of being much more “family friendly”, but I’ve never worked in an organisation like that in the private sector, and when I worked in recruitment, out of literally hundreds of private sector jobs I recruited for, only a small handful were part time or flexible working ours.

So damn right this budget will be harder on women, and particularly women with children. And single Mums like me who work in the public sector, well, I might as well give up work all together … oh, hang on, I’d be forced back into work when my child turns five anyway, under new ConDem plans.

Troon // Posted 5 July 2010 at 10:42 pm

Is anyone else furious at the sleight of hand by which means testing for many benefits relating to children is done on household income-as if a single Mum on (an improbably high?) 25k, a couple with one earner on 25k and one providing childcare and a couple where both earn 12.5k somehow all have the same real income?

Lauren // Posted 6 July 2010 at 12:58 am

By ‘family friendly’ they were talking about men being included as heads of family households again. Their family policy has nothing to do with women and children. It only aimed to stigmatise single mothers. As for actually helping families – meh, just a bit of rhetoric. It was about helping families *if* they were held up by a father figure. So the alleged ‘help’ was the carrot they planned to dangle to socially engineer women back into the kitchen.

Ruth // Posted 6 July 2010 at 6:30 am

“flexible working ours” obviously I mean “flexible working hours”.

Jilly // Posted 6 July 2010 at 11:05 am

I always suspected family friendly meant provided the family is headed by a male breadwinner

Ruth // Posted 6 July 2010 at 4:50 pm

“So the alleged ‘help’ was the carrot they planned to dangle to socially engineer women back into the kitchen.”

Exactly Lauren. But as you say, only the “right kind” of families, the ones with the father as the head of the family.

It’s funny, actually, see, I’d love to be “back in the kitchen” (by which I mean, ideally I’d like to be a SAHM) but, oh! Hang on a minute! They don’t want people like me in the kitchen, only women with (high-earning)husbands! (Or if I’m being generous to the traditionally homophobic Tories, maybe women with high earning civil partners? Guess I’ll just have to find myself one of them, then.)

If I wanted to spend time in my “kitchen” (well, with my child) I’d be “sponging off the state” and would have my housing benefit cut by ten percent each year, too, when my child reached the grand old age of, oh, five.

(Oh, funny thing, my child’s father, who I’m separated from but did pay maintenance, was actually one of the first against the wall when it came to the cuts, as he worked at a “quango” – one that kept tabs on politicians actually so no surprise that was one of the first to go – even if I did want a “father figure” as the head of my family, I’d have had to find one working in the private sector – talk about the “right kind” of families!!!)

Shea // Posted 6 July 2010 at 9:59 pm

I agree 100% with the above. I think Thatcher would never have dared to go as far as these cuts do.

This isn’t even the half of it.

The £1,000 extra income allowance on taxation is actually worse for most people as it will stigmatise them when it comes to housing benefit.

Child benefit is relied upon by thousands of the poorest women, health in pregnancy grant has also been abolished and child trust funds. The only saving grace is that they have restored the state pension to earnings link (to buy off their predominantly elderly supporters). This budget hammers children and women, especially single women.

Coupled with scrapping the future jobs fund, the extra uni places and the planned cuts to welfare spending this is a very bad time to be young or female.

Great if you are a bank though, a pathetic £2 billion levy which you can then recoup through the cuts to corporation tax. Excellent.

Yep Dave is remedying “broken Britain” alright, by shattering it to pieces.

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