Changes 'hit women twice as hard

Labour leader Ed MilibandWomen will be hit more than twice as hard as men by changes to taxes, benefits and pay announced by Chancellor George Osborne on Tuesday, Labour has said.

Labour leader Ed Miliband branded the Chancellor's Autumn Statement "the biggest attack on women in a generation".
Almost three quarters (73%) of the £2.37 billion raised by the Chancellor from tax credit cuts and public sector pay caps will come from women (£1.73 billion), compared to just 27% from men (£638 million), according to figures obtained by Labour from the independent House of Commons Library.

Branding the Government "out of touch with the reality facing people", Mr Miliband added: "The Autumn Statement on Tuesday had lots of talk of growth and forecasts.

"But what is that really about? It's about the quiet crisis facing people behind front doors and around the kitchen table in millions of homes.

"It's about jobs. It's about living standards being squeezed for the 99%. Wages frozen, when energy bills are soaring. It's about the fate of the next generation."

Research from the House of Commons Library found that 4.6 million women and 2.6 million men will be affected by Mr Osborne's two-year 1% cap on pay rises in the public sector, said Labour.

The cap will cost women £687 million a year by 2014/15, compared to £388 million for men. Some 89% of those affected by a change to Child Tax Credit announced on Tuesday will be women, who will lose £908 million a year against £112 million for men.

Labour's equalities spokeswoman Yvette Cooper said: "Time and again, this Government is making women take the greatest strain, even though they still earn less and own less than men.

"The Government's plans are deeply unfair on women. They clearly don't understand the pressures many women are facing at the moment - especially women with children who will lose most of all."
© 2011 Press Association
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