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Guest Blog: Labour MP Rachel Reeves on the 'Mummy Tax' - what do you think?

(49 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Dec-12 17:34:11

In the Autumn Statement this week, it was announced that statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance would rise by just 1%: below inflation, and therefore a real-terms cut for working mothers.

In our guest blog, the Labour MP Rachel Reeves (who is expecting her first child next year) examines what her party are calling a 'Mummy Tax' - and questions the fairness of the cut.

So do have a read, and let us know what you think. Will you be affected by cuts to maternity pay - or might these changes affect your future plans for a family? Do you agree that women with children are being disproportionately targeted? Post on the thread, and if you blog on this issue, don't forget to link us to your blog.

Please note: Although guest bloggers are invited by MNHQ to post their blog for the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, each guest blogger's opinions are his or her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of MNHQ.

EdgarAllanPond Wed 12-Dec-12 16:38:04

tax receipts in that bracket actually decreased when the 50% band was brought in in the last three weeks of a 13-year long labour administration.

it is a massive simplification to say it is a tax cut, when it is so easy for people in that bracket to tax-plan around it.

and given it was such an obvious piece of political manoeuvring in the first place, not something that did Labour any credit.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 12-Dec-12 11:34:25

So if I earn £1m and currently pay 50% tax on the top £850k and will now pay 45% tax on that band, I save £42,500 in tax.

If I earn £2.25m then I save £105,000. Maybe RR's figures are based in the "average" millionaire's salary?

I realise this is over-simplistic as there will be lots of tax planning in both cases.

<off to promote More or Less podcasts on my Science and Nature Club thread>

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 12-Dec-12 10:37:33

With the top rate of tax, I think it is worth pointing out that it in fact raised no extra money. It did raise some in the first year, but the IFS and HMRC were not sure that it would continue to raise money, and there was concern that it could have a negative effect on tax revenues.

Based on pure economics it should have been cut entirely, because a tax should be solely about raising money rather than punishing certain sectors of society or making a political point or attempting to drive behaviour. However Osbourne didn't feel he could do that in these times without being lynched by those who believe that tax is a social tool as well as an economic one, so we have the 45p rate.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 12-Dec-12 10:17:05

Ah, thanks poppy. It's just really annoying in a blog controlled by the blogger (as opposed to restricted by column space or something) that something like that would be stated with no further explanation or link to a calculation etc.

poppyseeds99 Wed 12-Dec-12 10:14:00

I reckon Ms Reeves was probably referring to the fact that the top rate of tax has been cut from 50p to 45.

Osborne & the Tories reckon this tax cut for top earners gives £40,000 to every person earning more than £1m a year.

But Miliband said the those on seven figure salaries would actually benefit from an average extra of £107,000 after the budget.

Depends on whom you believe really... hmm

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Dec-12 09:53:47

Hello TheDoctrineOfSnatch

It's not previously been the norm for guest bloggers to respond to comments - but we'll certainly pass on an invitation to do so to Rachel.

Chubfuddler Mon 10-Dec-12 09:05:08

So strongly agree with the majority on this thread.

Is this turning out the way ms Reeve hoped, do you think?

VivaLeBeaver Mon 10-Dec-12 07:17:54

YY Merry Mouse, I had dd 12 years ago and couldn't even afford to have 6 months off. Had to go back when she was 5 months old. That was under a Labour govt. Yes they did change things later on, but when I had dd they'd been in power for 4 years. So hadn't exactly been falling over themselves to improve things.

Most women I know seem to manage a year off work now, which is fab.

merrymouse Mon 10-Dec-12 06:42:41

To be honest, as well, I find it difficult to get that upset about a real terms cut to statutory maternity pay when the general picture has improved so much over the last few years. When I was pregnant with my son 10 years ago, I can dimly remember that you didn't really have any rights until you had worked for a company for a couple of years, and max maternity leave was 6 months. I was one of the first people to be able to take advantage of the ability to ask for flexible working hours, and by the time I had my daughter, maximum leave had increased to a year, and now pay has been extended to 39 weeks. Looking forward, fathers will be able to share leave.

It would be nice if maternity pay were more, however, as others have said, it has never been enough to make the difference between a woman being able to work or stay at home.

Now, I would be interested in some comment from Labour on what they would do about Child Benefit, should they win the next general election?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 09-Dec-12 23:57:30

Very squeezed how can you make a statement like that while accusing women of not engaging with politics?

Pot, kettle?

If women are being hit hardest by the cuts, it is because they are more dependant on the state than men, on average. What need addressing is why that is, and what can be done to alter the situation.

Sexist, single-issue soundbites are not going to help one iota.

MayaAngelCool Sun 09-Dec-12 23:51:25

'Mummy tax' is a patronising and oversimplified catch-all term at the same end of the annoyance scale as 'yummy mummy'. Anyone who uses either phrase without irony should be whipped.

Rant over. Will read the blog now.

verysqueezedmiddle Sun 09-Dec-12 23:46:36

Yes the rich are paying more. As they should. But the poor are also being hit hard. I support work over benefits where people can work.but this latest statement will affect the poor who are working too, not just those with the curtains drawn as Osborne puts it.

I don't know reeves but she can't be any worse than this out of touch bunch currently running the country. Not sure that counts as working hard for the Labour Party.

LittleFrieda Sun 09-Dec-12 23:36:37

verysqueezedmiddle - you seem to be working very hard for the Labour party on Mumsnet. Might the fact that people aren't commenting on the rest of the blog be because people can't be bothered to read it?

You only need look at the impact assessment of Osborne's Autumn Statement to see that the rich pay more than the poor, even in pecrentage terms. But of course the botom decile did not escape unscathed and came off worse than the squeezed middle. That is regrettable in some cases but it was a very intentional and well publicized consequence of the statement; to make work pay better than benefits. Do you not read the papers?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 09-Dec-12 23:22:34

I did comment - I asked where the £107,000 tax cut calculation came from.

MNHQ, is Rachel going to come and comment again, do you know?

verysqueezedmiddle Sun 09-Dec-12 23:17:30

Also why is no one commenting on the rest of the blog? Do we think she is right that women are getting a worse deal from the cuts, taxes, freezes?

It wasn't all about the mummy tax

verysqueezedmiddle Sun 09-Dec-12 23:15:05

I think you will find that Miliband made some comments on the attacks on those on benefits today.

Viva - you are right she won't notice the loss because MPs don't get SMP. They don't actually get maternity leave . Just get paid and are expected to carry on the job.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 09-Dec-12 23:10:38

Why is Rachel Reeve not interested in publicising public sector pay freezes and benefit freezes?

I could be cynical and say that the only reason Ms Reeve is interested in this "mummy tax" (which is a vomit inducing phrase) is firstly because its a vote winner and secondly because she's personally affected.

Though I some how doubt she will notice the "loss" of £180 that much. Not on her salary.

Publicising the plight of benefit scroungers or the demonised public sector workers isn't quite as popular with the electorate is it Rachel? Now remind me, how much of a pay freeze are MPs on?

I'm sick of been patronised by politicians. They think everyone's too thick to work out what's going on.

verysqueezedmiddle Sun 09-Dec-12 23:10:06

That should have said whinging

verysqueezedmiddle Sun 09-Dec-12 23:09:13

I am not saying women are won over by catchy sound bites. But I think these shorthand phrases are what acts as flags to them to look at the bigger issues. It might be because they are tuned out from any politics or it might be because they have lots of other stuff to deal with on a daily basis.

Sadly too many women show no real interest in politics. If they re not happy with the current bunch that are there then there is no point sitting moaning about it, they need to do something - at the very least use their vote. I get so cross when I hear other women wringing and then saying they can't be bothered to vote when it comes to elections.

LittleFrieda Sun 09-Dec-12 23:06:08

I'm a little hungry. I think I'll have a mummy snack before bed.

expatinscotland Sun 09-Dec-12 22:57:54

'You complain when the politicians take no notice of your issues, and then you complain and make personal attacks when they do.'

Did I complain, personally? No, I said it was a reality for many of us, so did another poster on this thread. I got on with it, the same as millions of people do in the real work of work whether it's maternity leave or sick leave and plenty of people on this thread.

And your definition of a personal attack is another's definition of stating the obvious.

I find it equally offensive to patronisingly label women as 'mummies' who can't understand the difference between a tax, a cut and a freeze by people in parliament who won't feel the pinch of any of them.

Well stated, Mini.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 09-Dec-12 22:56:22


It is completely pointless though for Labour to focus in on such a narrow point - especially when they provide no credible alternative.

And it is not a cut, it is a small raise but below the rate of inflation. I'm not sure how you would justify a larger increase against the background of public sector pay restrictions.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 09-Dec-12 22:50:08

I love "The political equivalent of flowers bought on the way home at the petrol station."

I agree with Floaty - it's not a handy catchphrase, it's an inaccurate description, even without the "mummy" bit. And as it's about to become law re splitting maternity leave, I assume it will in fact be a "mummy and daddy" tax.

MiniTheMinx Sun 09-Dec-12 22:49:59

verysqueezedmiddle you seem to be implying that women don't engage with politics because they are too fluffy headed and can be won over by a few catchy sound bites. Are women are so dim, ( I believe they are not)

I would argue women tune out because they know that we don't have a truly democratic system and that all three major parties have little real interest in women's lives past which box they tick on election day.

verysqueezedmiddle Sun 09-Dec-12 22:27:58

Expat that is a bit unfair. You complain when the politicians take no notice of your issues, and then you complain and make personal attacks when they do. They can't win.
Loads of women were mesmerised by Cameron and Clegg in 2010 with women overwhelmingly voting in the coalition. Now it is screwing them big time. Women, especially mothers are being hit hardest by the range of freezes and cuts. If this resonates with women and gets them to think before they vote next time, it is worth it to have a shorthand term.

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