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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?



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).

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