Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan


UK Budget "Discriminates Against Women"

Sunday, 23 March 2014


Scottish National Party spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has said the UK government’s Budget discriminates against - women as benefits and tax changes continue to hit them the hardest.

The introduction of a fixed cap on welfare spending will have a disproportionate impact on women who are already bearing the brunt of UK government cuts, with 80 per cent of money already slashed from the welfare bill coming from women. Analysis also shows women have been hit hardest by previous cuts to tax credits.

Research by the House of Commons Library shows that the Chancellor’s tax and benefit strategy since 2010 has raised a net £3.047 billion (21 per cent) from men and £11.628 billion (79 per cent) from women. The Chancellor’s three-year freeze in child benefit, usually paid to the mother, took £1.26 billion from women but only £26 million from men. Conversely, men reaped the most benefit from Mr Osborne’s decision to reduce the top rate of tax on income over £150,000 a year from 50p to 45p. Some 85 per cent of the gains went to men, and only 15 per cent to women.

While Osborne has raised Personal Tax Allowance in his 2014 budget, it does nothing to help the poorest people earning too little to pay the tax in the first place – the majority of whom are women.

Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:

“The UK government have had a woeful record over the last four years when it comes to women, and George Osborne’s budget this week did nothing to change that.

“The welfare state is being dismantled by Westminster, and woman are being the hardest hit. Some 80 per cent of money already slashed from the welfare bill has come from women’s pockets, and this new cap will put women in the front line of cuts for years to come.

"It is only with the financial powers of an independent Scotland that we can deliver the policies the SNP are pledged to - such as transforming childcare, building up to 1,140 hours for all children from age one to primary school, which will help more women into the workplace. We will be able to increase the minimum wage by at least the cost of living every year, and reverse the welfare reforms that hit women the hardest - particularly the plan to pay benefits to the household instead of directly to second earners, most of whom are women. These are just some of the things we can, should and must achieve with a Yes vote.”

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