'Mummy Tax' thoughts?

(94 Posts)
FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 06-Dec-12 10:54:41

Morning,

In yesterday's Autumn Statement, George Osborne announced that statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance would rise by 1%, which, because it is below inflation, represents a real-terms cut.

It's being dubbed 'Mummy Tax' by Labour in today's papers.

How do you feel about this news?

Thanks,

MNHQ

HandbagCrab Fri 07-Dec-12 17:38:38

I've said numerous times on here that I outearned dh until I got pregnant. Suddenly my job needed restructuring. Dh got a huge pay rise and promotion once he became a daddy. I got demoted and sidelined when I got pregnant. So I've gone part time as I refuse to give my all to work that does not give a shit about me. SMP was neither here nor there in any if these decisions other than I went back after 7 months as it suited me.

Xenia it is truly wonderful how successful you have been, well done. Perhaps if when I was 13 and choosing gcses someone like you had talked to us about opportunities maybe things would be different for me!

Xenia Fri 07-Dec-12 17:18:17

I didn't mean to imply that. I meant too many women go part time and never get their careers back on track. I was not suggesting taking lots of very low paid maternity leave was a way to improve the lot of women - quite the converse. It is a tricky pit set to trap women into a life of domestic servitude dependence on men and low pay. Like a huge bit of sticky chocolate cake held out by a nasty witch in a children's fairy tale when behind his back he has a huge knife. You are tempted by the cake and then suffer life consequences. Like the child catchers with their sweets in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Our first nanny when she started having babies brought them to work actually which would be why she stayed 10 years. We were very lucky and also very accommodating. The one after that earned more than her husband which is unusual but she didn't by then have children.

Women tend to marry someone who earns more in practice which is one reason women are held back so much. If you earn 2x or 10x your husband you tend not to end up at home for long periods.

Anyway back to the thread - this could be a great news for women this budget - higher personal allowances and also encouragemnent to return to work sooner. In fact one of the most damaging thing for women can be very long maternity leaves which segue into domestic drudge for life never getting back on the career track even though until they about 30 in the UK women do earn more than men and are more likely to have degrees than men and do better at school and university.

HandbagCrab Fri 07-Dec-12 16:41:51

It's a bit patronising to say that women don't out earn men because of in line with inflation maternity pay. I don't think women were out earning men prior to the introduction of SMP were they?

Xenia did your nanny earn enough to be the main breadwinner in her family? How did she organise her own childcare when she was looking after your children? Or did you have a male nanny, earning a second wage to supplement his consultant wife's income?

Xenia Fri 07-Dec-12 16:25:38

On the whole they aren't. Much more often it is the woman conned into going part time and being left high and dry. This is because woimen are conditioned from birth to serve and do the chores and taught how to nab a richer man to keep them, barbie doll with her wedding as the biggest day of her life and then kept by and large by a man. It is still fairly rare sadly on mumsnet that women out earn their men. Yet plenty of the husbands earn 2x their wives. Anyway I'm an optimist. If the recession and Government policy does not make part time work pay more and more women will get into full time work and then they will be there as the pool from which the leaders of their companies can be chosen in future which is much less likely when they turn up for a few hours a day if their child is not sick.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 07-Dec-12 15:44:56

But if flexible hours and part time working are now being utilised more by both parents, how are they a con?

Xenia Fri 07-Dec-12 15:42:51

Yes, more and more men are playing a full part at home and more and more women are ceasing to be conned into thinking part time or flexible hours is a n irvana and realise it's a con by sexists to keep them at home not earning much whilst shooting their careers to pieces and having to do a lot of drudge stuff a home which men don't want to do.

This recession could end up being terribly good for women and their fight for fairness and equality at home and at work.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 07-Dec-12 15:40:27

"that" being the "better rights" Xenia mentioned.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 07-Dec-12 15:39:09

Isn't that being addressed by the sharing of maternity leave going forward? My friend is PG and her DH is going to take some of the leave, this makes me happy.

HandbagCrab Fri 07-Dec-12 15:38:33

Took me 6 months to recover from my emcs. So I would have been on the sick for months instead of mat leave. Not sure that lots of new mums being on the sick rather than maternity leave would be good for either feminism, families or the economy.

treats I understand what you're saying but I see it like if there are ten schools that need investing in but three are academies and seven are state then the investment is only going to the academies. Which is in my opinion morally wrong because all children deserve to learn in a building fit for purpose. You could say that the seven state schools could convert to academies and then they would get funding too. I would see that as a bribe to get schools to convert to the current ideology rather than a fair choice. The assets and the investment then transfer to private hands (the academy or the free school) rather than staying in local authority hands so it is again a way of channelling public money into private assets. So on the surface it sounds really good (more money for investment in our children!) but there's more going on than that.

On topic, it's the same with SMP. We're all in this together and therefore SMP isn't rising with inflation sounds fair and reasonable. But is it really? What figures are we talking about? What are the social consequences of families with small babies having less money? What are the long term implications of this lessening of funding? How might this impact funding in ten years time? Is it going to create more super rich xenias or more stressed mums working for a lot less when they don't want to leave their under 1s to be in work in the first place? Is it going to discourage yet more working women from starting families in the first place? And what are the long term implications of this because I don't think they are good to be perfectly honest.

Btw mummy tax as a name isn't even worth discussing its that poorly thought out.

Xenia Fri 07-Dec-12 15:26:12

Actually that's the fascinating issue. When women are given much better rights than men it is very hard for them to achieve no sexism at home as if the man is off he is paid nothing and if the woman takes 3 months off her employer might even choose to pay her half pay never mind 90% pay for 6 weeks.

We certainly need fewer people having chidlren so any policy which results in that is going go be a winner for the nation.

Also getting the single person allowance up to £9300 for each person means that women are even more incentivised to work. This Government seems to be doing very well for working mothers and it is trying to ensure full time work pays, not part time which also helps ensure women do not end up doing all the housework at home but instead can achieve true equality and fairness with men and not endure any set up which means woman in home cleaning and man working which tends not to make most couples happy.

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Fri 07-Dec-12 15:20:25

But Xenia, surely policies which give some flexibility are BETTER for women pursuing careers? Or even just jobs.

My reasoning is that without decent SMP some women would opt not to have children at all. Or would only have children once or if being a SAHM was an option financially.

I am personally much more in favour of paying women to work after children than to stay at home (child benefit sort of does this).

Xenia Fri 07-Dec-12 15:05:38

Indeed, it's all to the good. Recessions can ensure women preserve their careers and do not live off male earnings so can ultimately be brilliant things for women. Materntiy pay is very low anyway aferr your 6 weeks at 90% pay so more and more women are finding it works best for them and their baby to get back to work full time very soon.

Treats Fri 07-Dec-12 14:45:14

I get you Handbag - if there's political will, the money will be found. I'm just glad it HAS been found for school improvements (even though they shouldn't have scrapped BSF in the first place) and if there IS a bit of money around I'd rather it went on schools than SMP.

Amongst the competing demands for the very few available funds do YOU think that an inflation-rate increase in SMP is the biggest priority? I don't. And, while I agree that women have disproportionately suffered from the Tory cuts agenda, I don't think that this specific measure is an attack on women.

I also think it's a bit counter-intuitive to say that it's reinforcing stereotypes about women's place being at home. To me, making maternity leave comparative less attractive is actually saying that the govt expects us to go back to work.

LittleTownofBethleHelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Dec-12 12:44:02

Thanks very much for all your feedback. V interesting!

verysqueezedmiddle Fri 07-Dec-12 11:42:36

Osborne is so far out of touch he might as well be on the moon. The same goes for Cameron. They will not be faced with the choices that most families will be making this Christmas in order to save money, feed families and heat a house. They are millionaires. They have given a tax cut to their rich mates of the equivalent of £2k per week. Look at the IFS report which shows that the poorest and rich are hit most by the tax changes. The rich can afford it. H should have taken more from them and the bankers who got us into this mess.

As for their attack on women , it just shows what they think of us. Most of the money they are saving is coming from women. The mummy tax is just one area. I hope that every woman who voted for this bunch of incompetent rich kids realises the mistake they made and never ever do it again !

ifso Fri 07-Dec-12 10:41:03
ifso Fri 07-Dec-12 10:32:59

Agree that the term is hideously patronising

They don't seem to see the benefits of supporting new births, supporting the new mother

And while there is an ageing population, surely new births should be encouraged? I understand that they need to make cuts, and like someone said earlier, I don't want them to make cuts to those in dire need, eg disability allowances etc

I just don't think they have thought it through sufficiently - I have just read www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/9727144/Autumn-Statement-Young-lives-are-being-ruined-because-of-Britains-timid-Treasury.htmlexample of Estonia not raising taxes to pull through austerity

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 07-Dec-12 10:00:06

I agree with Prime, I see no evidence that Conservative policy/philosophy is that women should be at home and not at work. Making Tax free allowances transferable between parents would be a good way to achieve that, I think.

Calling this a mummy tax is just so naff, as others have said, many workplaces, public and private, have frozen salaries, so a below-inflation increase is nothing like a tax.

HandbagCrab Fri 07-Dec-12 09:45:11

Yes but my point was treats there was no money a year or so ago to do up schools that needed doing up and were earmarked as so though the building schools for the future programme. But this week it was announced a billion had been found to do up schools. But only free schools and academies, not any school that needs the investment. So it is politically motivated rather than a nice thing to do for our kids.

Similarly funding maternity leave can be seen as politically motivated and at the moment it is not seen as something that should be funded at inflation. Seeing as though there are many women on here falling over themselves to say how they do not care it is being cut as that is fair in the current climate it is obvious why they don't need to make it a priority for funding.

Where I live there was a referendum about introducing the congestion charge. It was said if we didn't have it the government would not be able to afford to expand the tram network. The congestion charge was soundly rejected by people in my area. The tram network has been expanded anyway, so the money has been found from somewhere. I'm sure everyone can think of other examples such as this.

It's political will how the money is distributed, it's not moral or fair or just or anything else politicians might like to tack on to make their decisions sound more legitimate or to make people feel grateful they are not taking even more off them. They do what suits them, their investors and what they think they can get away with.

MsElleTow Fri 07-Dec-12 07:59:09

As other benefits are 'only' getting a 1% pay increase I don't see why SMP should be any different, and don't agree that it is anti-women! Many workers have had a pay freeze, DH included, so it is better than that!

Xenia Fri 07-Dec-12 07:43:33

If the £120 or whatever it is maternity pay after week 6 of maternity leave is not kept up with inflation it will encourage women to return to full time work quicker, which is better for families, babies and the workplace and ensures there is much less sexism at home and gender defined roles in the household. It is win win for women.

Suggestions of lower taxes are good here:
www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/budget/9727144/Autumn-Statement-Young-lives-are-being-ruined-because-of-Britains-timid-Treasury.html

Gatorade Fri 07-Dec-12 00:04:51

grin

Spockster Thu 06-Dec-12 23:58:59

Well, UB40 never left, did they?!! grin

Gatorade Thu 06-Dec-12 23:51:22

I like the idea of making benefits taxable spockster, I hadn't ever considered that as a way of redressing the balance where it comes to non means tested benefits. In a way it works for SMP if we are to consider that a benefit as it is taxed so it could work for other benefits as well.

You also are probably very right about most 50% tax payers not considering leaving the country, it is home after all and that is surely more important.

Spockster Thu 06-Dec-12 23:44:54

I just look at CB (formerly), SMP etc as a slight lowering of the marginal tax rate; if it would be more expensive to means test or similar, I don't violently object. I do believe all benefits should be taxable though, as the "rich pensioner" thing is becoming indefensible.
My point on the 50% ers was simply that most of them would not consider leaving the country(or be a loss to the economy if they did); and most don't generate wealth other than for their own bank accounts. I may be wrong, but 'tis my impression.

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