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'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.

EauRougelyNight Thu 06-Dec-12 11:36:17


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.

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