Budget 2012: A Missed Opportunity To Help Women?

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As the dust settles on George Osborne's budget, with controversy over the so called "granny tax", he might be in trouble with more than just the elderly.

Despite the Chancellor's announcement that those earning less than £9,000 would be taken out of the tax system, and measures unveiled to avoid the 'cliff edge' for those higher-rate taxpayers whose child benefit would otherwise be removed, not everyone is happy.

The Fawcett society's deputy chief executive Anna Bird said this year's Budget was a "missed opportunity" for women.

"There will be women out there who are really feeling the pain of cuts and they won't be helped by what the chancellor unveiled today," she told The Huffington Post UK.

Bird said targeting child benefit for cuts is a tax on those with children, adding: "In particular it's a very tough way of taxing higher earners. If you want to focus the deficit-cutting measures at those who are earning most that's fine but to target those who have children instead is quite unfair. The government has taken steps to reduce the cliff-edge effect. Our concern really is it's still a tax on those with children."

She also pointed out that many women who work part time don't pay tax anyway - and are facing a £10bn raid on their benefits.

"We're also concerned really is the £10bn savings on the benefits bill. That's a significant amount and because women are more likely to earn less and live in poverty their income is more likely to be made up of welfare benefits.

"That's a great concern because we already known women are being hit hardest," she said.

Labour MP Ann McKechin was also concerned, telling The Huffington Post equality was "going backwards"

"George's Osborne's record since he came in has been to completely ignore the issues and challenges which women face in their home lives and also in their week.

"They've borne the bulk of the cuts despite the fact they are lower earners and they have more child care responsibilities and equality is going backwards."

Meanwhile, Mumsnet founder and CEO Justine Roberts said her website's users were concerned about fairness.

"The Chancellor’s response has been to raise the threshold at which you start to lose benefit to £50 000 but sadly, he has rather missed the point by failing to address single earners’ penalty," she wrote.

Roberts concluded there "wasn't too much to suggest it was the family friendly version that George Osborne promised us."

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