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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?



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

[] 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!

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