'Mummy Tax' thoughts?

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


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?



MoaningMingeWhimpersAgain Thu 06-Dec-12 10:55:21

I am not surprised at all, because he is an utter twat. IMHO of course.

caramelwaffle Thu 06-Dec-12 10:59:43

I'm not surprised.
Another way to clobber working women/families.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Thu 06-Dec-12 11:01:08

Is anyone going to be surprised? I don't think so.

Djembe Thu 06-Dec-12 11:07:45

Gideon, for example, his actions make him resemble a cunt.

Treats Thu 06-Dec-12 11:21:56

I understand the logic behind the changes. The govt want to shift people from relying on benefits to supporting themselves through their own earnings. And I broadly support that. This is why they're limiting 'working age' benefits to an increase of 1% - it matches pay increases in the public sector. So you don't get more from being on benefits than you do from being at work.

Disability benefits and pensions will increase in line with inflation because people don't - theoretically - have the alternative of going to work if they're claiming these. They're too old or too unwell to work.

The trouble with maternity pay is that it falls between two stools. It's a 'working age' benefit - i.e. you have the 'option' to work instead of claiming it - but, in reality, you need to recover from the birth and take care of your baby so you don't really have a choice.

I'm going to be living off SMP next year - but I accept that to claim it for nine months instead of - say - three is, actually, a luxury. But the cost and availability of childcare doesn't actually provide me with any realistic alternatives. But that's just as true for someone who's claiming JSA in an area of economic deprivation - they don't actually have a realistic alternative to claiming it.

I don't have an issue with it particularly. But it does need to be accompanied with greater efforts to ensure that work is a realistic alternative to benefits - cheaper childcare, more job opportunities, etc.

tethersjinglebellend Thu 06-Dec-12 11:27:06

It's enough to make you go back to bed and close the curtains while your neighbours go to work. Or something.


ChippingInAWinterWonderland Thu 06-Dec-12 11:38:58

It's one of many cuts across the board, they are hitting most people. I don't suppose those on ML have any more/less need for those things not to be cut than anyone else. The whole situation is dire for pretty much everyone.

Isabeller Thu 06-Dec-12 11:42:18

well it's hardly fair to working babies to see the baby in the neighbouring cot sleeping all morning on child benefit...

being born shouldn't be seen as a lifestyle choice wink

maillotjaune Thu 06-Dec-12 11:58:54

Thoroughly unshocking. I expect a Tory chancellor would prefer us all to give up work so the chaps can have our jobs anyway. Perhaps we are supposed to be relieved he only held back the rise rather than slashed it.

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Dec-12 12:01:45

I find the term "Mummy Tax" incredibly patronising.

Most (I know not all) women on ML are in committed relationships. Any reduction in SMP will affect the whole family, not just the mother (assuming that the mother's partner isn't a financially abusive arse who expects her to continue to contribute financially at the same level as before while he spends merrily as before).

In that light, Chipping is absolutely right. Cuts have to be made in order to pay down the deficit, and this one represents a relatively small amount of pain spread across a relatively large number of people on a relatively fair basis.

I'd much rather this than still further cuts to disability allowance, for example.

BobbiFleckmann Thu 06-Dec-12 12:18:16

I don't call a lower than inflation increase a "cut". As Cinnabar says, it's low grade pain and is much fairer than actual cuts to housing and disability allowances where it isn't a lifestyle choice - and let's not forget that long maternity leave is just that (isabeller, it's not the being born, it's electing to take potentially very long periods off work while your employer is required to keep your job open to you) and be grateful that we're not all in the USA and attached to a breast pump in a room in the office while our 4 week old babies are looked after in a creche. It's still a pretty good deal which is extremely expensive for small employers. Let's not reach a stage where women in their 20s and 30s are too much of an employment risk.

Djembe Thu 06-Dec-12 12:24:01

Eh Treats so women are being punished financially for taking their maternity leave? We should put our babies into childcare from 3 months? Really? It's not a luxury to have a year to bond with and look after your baby.

I am remaining my son's sole carer after a year for the foreseeable future, as I believe strongly it's best for him still. We will be skint, I'm working Saturdays, but it's worth it for us.

Lots of people choose to or have to go back to work when baby is one. The playing field should be kept even until then by making it a valid option to take a full year. Otherwise the only mothers able to look after their babies for that important first year will be rich ones. Oh.

HanSolo Thu 06-Dec-12 12:33:07

The Conservatives don't really want women to work, because we're takiing jobs from the menz aren't we?
Their Family Values mean women in the home, raising their children, caring for the elderly, disabled, and mentally ill, and thus reducing the burden on the state.

GalaxyDisaster Thu 06-Dec-12 12:53:14

I find the term 'mummy tax' incredibly patronising. As Gabby Hinscliff tweeted this morning, it applies to paternity pay too. So, at best, it is a 'mummy and daddy' tax. However, I find the infantalising language very insulting and I think less of labour for using it.

The policy itself. On one hand I think it is awful, because it hits the poorest working families hardest. There really is no excuse for biting parents when they are at their most vulnerable.

On the other hand, the previous labour government had a bit of an obsession with increasing the period of SMP (at one stage didn't they hope it would go up to 52 weeks) at the expense of increasing the actual amount payable. IME many families can't survive on SMP, so I would be interested to see how many lower earning families actually take up their 39 weeks. My guess is it is mainly higher earners. Such a nominal amount payable for such a long time was an obvious target for cuts.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that SMP was so paltry anyway that I think it was a broken system even before the conservatives made it worse. It would help a lot more low earners to make it a decent amount for, say, four months. I'd rather have seen the conservatives say that they were cutting a bit off the period rather than reducing the amount, but I guess it is politically even more difficult to position.

Pinotgrigioplease Thu 06-Dec-12 12:55:01

It seems fair to me. I have had a 3 year pay freeze and will now get a 1% pay rise (public sector) so I have also had a real terms paycut. Why should it be any different if I am on ML (which I am, not that it should make any difference). Times are tough but that's the way it is.

GalaxyDisaster Thu 06-Dec-12 12:55:21

Bobbi - when you say maternity leave is expensive for small employers, presumably you mean covering the absent person rather than paying maternity pay? Small employers can reclaim (in advance as a lump sum) SMP from the government. Large employers can reclaim most of it.

Mono1 Thu 06-Dec-12 13:00:55

Hansolo I think you've hit the nail on the head. It seems this Govt see women at home looking after their children and families and are blinkered to the realities of modern life.
Putting the 'n' into Cuts.

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Dec-12 13:03:19

* I would be interested to see how many lower earning families actually take up their 39 weeks. My guess is it is mainly higher earners*

Don't bet on it. I am, by anybody's standards, a high earner and I count myself very lucky for it. But I've set the level of my outgoings according to the level of my (normal) income. The drop from my normal monthly wage to lower rate SMP was more than our family's outgoings could cope with. As it happens, I was always planning to go back to work because I love both my job and being capable of supporting myself financially, so I simply went back after 26 weeks rather than 39.

blondietinsellyminx Thu 06-Dec-12 13:03:49

What hansolo said!

IMO the ConDems have shown, at every turn, that they are institutionally sexist.. and their policies/cuts have affected families with children terribly sad

That picture on the Guardian front page of Gideon and co chortling "ahaha, we've shafted the poor again!" made me actually shudder...

Narked Thu 06-Dec-12 13:09:12

I feel that anyone on a household income of £150k or less doesn't actually count as human in their eyes of the current government

Treats Thu 06-Dec-12 13:15:59

Djembe - what i meant was that working mothers theoretically have the choice between staying at home on SMP and going back to work. Nobody is being 'punished' - they're just not getting a better deal by staying at home on SMP than they would by going back to work. Personally I think that's fair.

Being paid to stay at home with your children for nine months IS a luxury. And it's only been introduced comparatively recently - I think since 2007?

GalaxyDisaster Thu 06-Dec-12 13:16:19

Cinnabar - I didn't actually mean it that way round. I meant that I suspect that, of people who take the full 39 weeks, the majority are higher earners (rather than saying that high earners necessarily took up the full entitlement).

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Dec-12 13:36:00

GalaxyDisaster <<blush at misunderstanding you>>

Yes, that I would certainly accept.

GalaxyDisaster Thu 06-Dec-12 13:40:04

No worries. I should have phrased it better.

GetAllTheThings Thu 06-Dec-12 13:43:39

I think the front page of the Guardian said it all this morning.

Gideon and Dave with big smiles and laughter in the commons after announcing more austerity.

Posterofapombear Thu 06-Dec-12 13:47:03

My issue is that it makes it financially harder to leave an abusive twat. I expect to see reported violence against women and children increase.

Of course the Tories haven't considered the effect in their nannies, cleaners and cooks. Bastards

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Dec-12 13:47:03

Genuine question - do people really think that the ConDems enjoy making these decisions?

I just know that, if it were me in their places, I would agonise about my choices for hours, even though I may well ultimately arrive at broadly the same decisions.

Posterofapombear Thu 06-Dec-12 13:48:53

Treats- its a luxury I have spent my working life paying for. If I had been allowed to save that portion of my tax my smp would have been fab.

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Dec-12 13:54:02

My tax isn't about creating your own 'pot' of benefits - it's about contributing a fair share to society, for society to distribute to those in need.

CinnabarRed Thu 06-Dec-12 13:54:19

But my tax...

PrimeSuspect Thu 06-Dec-12 13:55:28

I think the argument that the cut shows the Tories as anti-women who want to keep mothers at home is rubbish. Surely if they wanted us to stay at home then they would have increased the amount so there was little incentive to return to work as SMP was enough to live on.

I hate the term 'mummy' tax.

It's not a cut as the amount mother's will receive is actually going to increase by 1%.

Maybe I speak from my experience of living abroad where true poverty-no education, no healthcare, no clean drinking water-is all around but I think we are so lucky in the uk that we get help financially to have children when working. Even in the US maternity is practically non existent so I feel grateful for any money coming my way, especially as in many ways it is a lifestyle choice to have children (or not). I would imagine I am in the minority though.

PrimeSuspect Thu 06-Dec-12 14:01:02

By the way, I do appreciate there are levels of poverty in the uk too and I didn't mean to belittle that in my post before anyone says otherwise, just that there are things I have seen which make me realise how grateful I am for the nhs and the benefit system-however small the amounts offered, if it means a child is clothed, fed and educated.

Treats Thu 06-Dec-12 14:17:31

Poster - I hear what you're saying but I find that kind of argument a bit problematic.

My mother spent as many years in the workforce before having her first child as i did. But she wasn't entitled to any pay when she took time off to look after her baby. I'm not inherently more deserving of SMP than she was. All that's changed is a government policy. I regard myself as fortunate to be a beneficiary of that.

It's similar to wealthy pensioners today saying that they've spent their working lives 'earning' their free bus passes and Winter Fuel Allowance and therefore they're 'entitled' to them, regardless of whether they need them or not. Generations of pensioners before them didn't get any of these things - many of them worked much harder, fought in wars, etc - without getting these freebies when they retired.

This isn't a "things were so much worse in the old days, so just be grateful for what you've got" argument - I don't agree with that. I'm just saying that we can't think of our entitlement to benefits in terms of getting back what we've put in. On that measure, the disabled - who would never be able to work - would just be left to rot.

We pay our taxes to maintain the civil society that we all live in and benefit from. Sometimes we benefit, more often - if we're lucky - we're net contributors. We have to agree amongst ourselves what our priorities are when it comes to spending the central pot, and we can't start from a position of how much we've each put in.

In other words - what CinnabarRed said........

MrsMicawber Thu 06-Dec-12 14:54:12

Seeing as working mothers are the single biggest contributers tomorrow - contributing to the economy and workforce, paying taxes, and simultaneously producing tomorrow's workforce, I think it is very cheeky to trim the stipend we do get on ML.

EIizaDay Thu 06-Dec-12 15:14:57

Treats - well said. I think too many people are too keen to jump on the bandwagon without really thinking things through. There is no money. The Government is doing what we all do when there is no money.

Quenelle Thu 06-Dec-12 15:49:09

Yes it is a cut in real terms. Since I haven't had a payrise since the end of 2008 I know all about them. So do lots of other workers who haven't had a payrise for years.

I don't see it as anti-women particularly, and I can't see why it has been singled out tbh. Unless you take into account that more women than men are turned off by this Government and Labour want to capitalise on that.

BobbiFleckmann Thu 06-Dec-12 16:00:32

employers covering maternity leave is far more costly than simply paying a recoverable SMP payment; it's recruitment costs, additional training expense on top of temp wages - it's time consuming and difficult. I think it's naive to suggest that this policy is the ConDem way of keeping women out of the workforce to keep the men employed - in fact reducing statutory maternity and paterntiy pay / time off would in fact probably make a group of women more employable because they'd be viewed as less of a "risk" as an employee - discriminatory or not, employers do not want disruption and expense, they need continuity adn simplicity at a time when business is very tough for a number of reasons.

GalaxyDisaster Thu 06-Dec-12 16:05:32

Bobbi - yes, that's what I meant when I asked if you were referring to costs of covering the absent person. I only mentioned it because I have seen SMP referred to as a direct cost to employers more than one in the media, which of course it isn't.

BelleDameSousMistletoe Thu 06-Dec-12 16:08:02

"The Government is not doing what we all do when we have no money." Really? By consistently creating policies that hurt those most in need? My approach is always to make more not just wildly cut back...

BelleDameSousMistletoe Thu 06-Dec-12 16:09:17

Not doing? Doing... Tsk!

WillSantaComeAgain Thu 06-Dec-12 16:21:31

It was my choice to have children and therefore I don't see why the state should support me for my choice. The fact of the matter is that the country is skint and cuts have to be made wherever possible. I haven't had a real terms pay rise for four years, so why should I get one just because I'm on maternity leave?

I do wish they'd stop courting the votes of the pensioners though. Many of the people on pensions today will be on extremely generous final salary schemes so I do slightly resent the fact that pensions aren't means tested.

RabbitsMakeGOLDBaubles Thu 06-Dec-12 16:54:33

It took me longer than a few months to recover from the birth, is maternity leave considered to be solely about being at home with the baby or is there any acknowledgement that having a baby can be very physically demanding and that women require a certain period rest to adjust and still be functional workers. To consider any part of maternity leave a luxury sits wrong with me, it's not really a holiday is it? It would be like sick leave becoming a luxury in my opinion.

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Thu 06-Dec-12 17:49:25

You asked how we feel about it.


Anyone watch The Borgias? You know the torture implement they keep showing that gets shoved up the arse and then expanded?

I feel like using that on George Oaborne.

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Thu 06-Dec-12 17:59:53

I feel that 'Mummy Tax' is a revolting term and Ed Balls needs to be shoved up Gideon's arse as the instrument of torture.

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Thu 06-Dec-12 18:09:59

lineRunner. Yes, I'd happily settle for that!

Pourquoimoi Thu 06-Dec-12 18:51:26

I think it's entirely reasonable actually. Yes it is a 'real term' cut but hey, the country has no money - how do people think we can afford a rise??

It is all very well and good saying that pensioners etc deserve a better rise but if we (the country) haven't got the money then cloth needs to be cut to suit the Funds available, in the same way as in almost every household.

We need to consider reality in all of this hysteria, to call it a 'mummy tax' is just ridiculous imho.

Hopingforhapppiness Thu 06-Dec-12 18:57:26

It's a shame but fair - the country has no money and SMP for so long is, actually, a luxury compared with any other time in history. Good employers should be paying more than SMP and women should try to take their labour to them in the first place. As someone said upthread, those in work are not generally having any increase in all in pay so a 1% increase seems quite generous....

HandbagCrab Thu 06-Dec-12 19:05:58

I don't understand why posters are so quick to say how lucky they are to get some pay and a year off for mat leave when compared to the US or the third world. Why not look at countries where leave and maternity benefits and family benefits generally are more generous than here? Thats a comparison to discuss I think!

If they wanted to fund SMP at inflation levels they would do so. As they have, for example, found a billion to do up free schools and academies which we couldn't afford schools when they were state schools that were being done up (building schools for the future).

BackforGood Thu 06-Dec-12 19:33:53

Some good posts by Treats.
Also I concur with what Pinotgrig said on last page, and Hoping just up above. Not sure why we should be upset that a benefit is "only" getting a 1% rise, when actually so many working people have not had any rise over the last 3 or 4 years.

NightLark Thu 06-Dec-12 19:41:25

[http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/the-billion-pound-o-gram/] any excuse to post my favorite diagram. It's always a choice where they spend the money. Most of the options we never get to debate. A few times they do something like this and pretend it is a huge and necessary deal without which we're all going to descend into financial ruin.

HanSolo Thu 06-Dec-12 19:54:57

can't see your lik night lark (on phone) but I imagine it's a chart showing just how much govt expenditure goes on pensions.

Yet another set of measures that take money away from the young, whilst leaving the older generations untouched.
Why aren't pensions and allowances for elderly means tested when child benefit is?

ParsingFancy Thu 06-Dec-12 20:35:04

Absolutely no desire to hijack this thread, but a quick correction.

"Disability benefits and pensions will increase in line with inflation because people don't - theoretically - have the alternative of going to work if they're claiming these. They're too old or too unwell to work."

Not true.

ESA (formerly Incapacity Benefit), the benefit for people too disabled or unwell to work, is also being held down.

There is a specialist benefit called Disability Living Allowance, for additional mobility or personal care needs, which is increasing with inflation. But this is not an out-of-work benefit and indeed many people on ESA do not receive it.

I've noticed the govt tends to mention DLA to suggest disabled people won't be affected by cuts, freeze or cap. It's not true, as the income-replacement benefit ESA is affected by all.

Sorry, end hijack.

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Thu 06-Dec-12 20:51:08

The painful thing is that it is so short sighted.

Policies and funding which support women to have children and be able to continue working if they choose to, like decent childcare, are critical to growth and the country's long term success.

Same with DLA.

NightLark Thu 06-Dec-12 21:35:14

Nothing to do with pensions. A nice graphic showing relative size of diff spending - bail outs, wars etc along with things like tesco profits and lots of other stuff. It's just useful when politicians of any hue start chucking around the big numbers to blind us with pseudo science.

Spockster Thu 06-Dec-12 21:46:44

You forget that Gideon and Dave went to Eton. They would probably enjoy it.

FastidiaBlueberry Thu 06-Dec-12 22:02:39

I just hope women punish them at the election the way they did all those Republican misogynists in the USA election.

PurtyDarnFine Thu 06-Dec-12 22:11:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gatorade Thu 06-Dec-12 22:12:13

I loathe the term 'mummy tax' but that aside I think it is appropriate for SMP to be treated in the same way as any other 'benefit'.

Having a child is largely a choice (normal exceptions acknowledged), therefore the bulk of financial responsibility must fall on the parents to ensure that they can afford to have the child and whatever time off work they feel they need after birth.

I think it would be unfair for mothers to be treated differently from the rest of the population in having SMP protected and increased in line with inflation.

Also others have said the majority of people have survived without pay rises over the past few years, if anything the increases to SMP in the past have been generous.

Spockster Thu 06-Dec-12 22:25:40

Not quite as generous as £3bn worth of tax cuts for the wealthy. The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

Treats Thu 06-Dec-12 22:33:00

Parsing - thanks for the correction. I'd only really read the headlines and didn't have the detail.

"As they have, for example, found a billion to do up free schools and academies which we couldn't afford schools when they were state schools that were being done up (building schools for the future)." HandbagCrab

I would FAR rather that the government spent my taxes improving the schools - by whatever means necessary - that my children will spend more than a decade at and will set them on their path through life, than spend it giving me a little bit extra money for the nine months I'm on maternity leave.

I'm not saying that the U-turn on school building isn't ridiculous, but if they've got to make these kinds of choices, then this is what I'd prefer them to do.

Gatorade Thu 06-Dec-12 22:37:46

But spockster the tax cuts you refer to reduce the amount the 'wealthy' are paying in to the state (they already contribute a huge amount) and this is an increase in the amount of a benefit that is being paid out of public funds (not an inflationary increase, but still an increase).

Spockster Thu 06-Dec-12 22:45:00

Either way, the rich pay less (than they did before) and the poor get less benefit (than they did before, in real terms). The rich effectively get richer, the poor get porter. Same old Tories! Also lousy economics, as the poor will spend less, and the rich will save more, so there will be less money in the economy.

LineRunnerWithBellsOn Thu 06-Dec-12 22:54:02

Francis Maude is getting a bit of a pasting on Question Time.

Gatorade Thu 06-Dec-12 22:58:20

I can understand your argument on a broader scale (although i'll confess to being a Tory supporter and as such don't necessarily agree) however SMP is a universal benefit and therefore this impacts both the 'poor' and the 'rich'.

Your point about the poor spending less is however very valid, but the rich getting 'richer' isn't necessarily a bad thing if they are using their wealth to invest in business, in income generating assets (thus generating more income which tax is paid on) and if the reduction of their tax burden keeps them in the UK.

Also, I must confess that I haven't had time to study the autumn statement in depth yet but from what I can see from the headline their are plenty of changes that will hit the richer members of society (e.g. pension tax free allowance cuts).

I do struggle with how it can every be 'fair' that one person pays into the state at the rate of hundreds of thousands of pounds per year (in taxes etc) whilst others net take from the state. However, I understand that others would feel it is 'unfair' that the rich have the ability to earn this much in the first place.

Angelico Thu 06-Dec-12 23:08:51

It's shite. Along with the double whammy of cutting CB without means testing whole household income it means it's getting ever harder to just stay at home and enjoy a few months with your baby.

Spockster Thu 06-Dec-12 23:16:47

It is not unfair. Those that can afford to pay towards the welfare state, should. Those who cannot support themselves, should get help. That's not politics, it is basic humanity. I am proud to pay what I do in tax, it shows that I live in a civilised society.
How many of the current 50% tax payers pay back into the economy as you suggest? I would say a small fraction, certainly none of the ones I know. They are busy protecting their money from the taxman, and squirrelling it away for the early retirement/ 2nd or 3rd home/ children's school fees, flats, etc etc. I might buy the argument that is expensive to administer, but at a time when the mantra is "in a time if austerity...", cutting taxes for the wealthy should be beyond the pale even if it just to show a principle.
Finally, SMP. I received it; it was entirely irrelevant to me. For many people, it is required to live on. That is why it matters so much more to the poor than the rich; a cut in real terms will only have an effect on the poorer.

Gatorade Thu 06-Dec-12 23:38:39

I don't dispute at all that those who can afford to pay to the welfare state should pay to it, and my DH and I certainly do. I also don't dispute at all that those who cannot support themselves should get help, I wouldn't want to live in a country where that was not the case.

The 50% tax payers that I know (including my DH and I) certainly do pay back into the economy and expect nothing in return (other than that the money is distributed back to those who need it more than us, be that via benefits or paying for services). Whilst 'squirrelling' money into a pension does gain 50% tax payers some tax breaks additional properties don't (tax is paid on rental income, stamp duty, capital gains) and school fees certainly are not tax deductible (I personally believe they should be but that is another debate).

I actually have issue with the fact that I received SMP, it goes against my belief that I personally should not take from the state. I don't know how that can be addressed though as the fall out for means testing SMP would be huge!

On the whole I agree with most of what you say Spockster, I think my final statement in my last post was maybe badly worded as I have no issue with those who genuinely need help taking from the state, I just don't like the wastage (e.g. people like me currently being entitled to CB (which of course we chose not to claim anyway), SMP being paid to those who don't need it and the same for non means tested pensioner benefits) whilst at the same time paying hundreds of thousands into state coffers.

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.

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 23:58:59

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

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


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:

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!

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.

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.

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

ifso Fri 07-Dec-12 10:41:03
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 !

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

Thanks very much for all your feedback. V interesting!

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.

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.

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 15:26:12

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 15:44:56

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 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.

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 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 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!

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