Tuesday, 11 December 2012


I was impressed with the level of coverage your paper gave to the Autumn statement delivered by George Osborne (Thursday 6 December) but wanted to comment on additional impacts.

It is perhaps no surprise as for the first time in 16 years there is no female minister at the Treasury (or several other departments) that the House of Commons library research shows that 81 per cent of the key additional direct tax, tax credit, and benefit changes announced yesterday will come from women (£867 million of the £1.065 billion raised) The earlier increases in public sector pension contributions, cuts to attendance allowance and social care hit women harder too. Research shows that out of the total £16bn George Osborne is raising in direct tax, credit, benefit, pay and pension changes, £12bn is being paid by women.

Child tax credits and child benefit will be cut even further in real terms. This on top of the previously announced real cuts in Working Tax Credits and childcare. Appallingly Maternity pay is also being raided. £180 will be taken from the pockets of new mums by 2015/16. Taking away real choice.


There are other factors at work here in Suffolk. We know that more women than men work in Public Sector and Health Care, and we are seeing pension rights eroded.  Women already receive very modest pensions, due to their lower pay and broken employment records. According to UNISON research the median pension for women who have worked in the NHS for example is just £3,500 a year (£67 a week)


We are seeing privatisation of many of our public services such as NHS Community Health Care to SERCO and care homes to Care UK. We know privatisation inevitably means that redundancies and erosion of terms and conditions swiftly follow. This combined with the announcements yesterday means increased inequality and poverty for women in Suffolk.

The slow plod of women’s equality is in real danger of grinding to a halt.

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