POLITICS

George Osborne's 'Gender Blindness' Sees Women Hit Three Times Harder By Cuts, Claims Labour

26/11/2015 15:03 GMT | Updated 26/11/2015 15:59 GMT
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George Osborne, U.K.'s Chancellor of the Exchequer, departs for the Houses of Parliament to deliver the Autumn Statement from the H.M. Treasury building in London U.K., on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015. U.K. 10-year bond yields approached their lowest level this month before Osborne's Spending Review, with investors weighing the implications for gilt issuance from a possible increase in the government's cash needs. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

George Osborne’s “gender blindness” means women are being hit three times harder than men by the Government’s welfare and tax changes, according to Labour.

Figures compiled by the House of Commons Library show that of the £16billion being raised in the current Parliament, £12billion is coming from women.

This includes changes to universal credit, childcare support and child benefit.

Labour claim that even with the u-turn on tax credit cuts, women are still set to suffer more than men by the Government's actions.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “Women are bearing the brunt of the chancellor’s economic mismanagement.

"David Cameron’s claims that he cares about women’s equality are proving to be totally hollow. His Chancellor’s gender blindness means women continue to suffer the burden of cuts.”

In his Autumn Statement yesterday, Mr Osborne announced he had abandoned plans to cut tax credits, which are often claimed by women in low paid work.

However, cuts to Universal Credit – which will eventually replace tax credits – mean that many families will still lose out.

Former Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP said: "How can the Chancellor claim this is ‘progressive government in action’ when women are in the firing line. Of the £16 billion he is taking - a shocking £12 billion is coming from women, despite the fact that women still earn less and own less than men.

"Once again he didn't own up to the truth from his Autumn Statement speech.”

Mr Osborne did try to tackle one issue which is seen as unfairly penalising women – the so-called ‘tampon tax’.

Under European Union regulations, sanitary products are deemed as non-essential items and so incur VAT of five per cent in the UK.

The Chancellor is unable to waive this levy, but he announced yesterday the money raised from it would be used to fund women’s charities, such as Eve Appeal, SafeLives and Women’s Aid.

The reaction to the announcement was mixed, with Labour MP Paula Sherriff, one of the leading campaigners on the issue, welcoming the measure:

However Daily Mail columnist Ros Wynne Jones was less than impressed: