Revealed: Secret Government Plans To Win Back Women

Government Memo Reveals Plans To Win Back Female Voters

Shortening school summer holidays is among ideas being considered in Downing Street to woo women amid fears the Government is alienating female voters.

A leaked document, written for the Downing Street policy unit and seen by The Guardian, expresses serious concerns about negative polling.

It concedes that the coalition has fallen short on Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to lead the "most family friendly" administration ever seen in the UK.

And the detailed four-page memo, marked "Restricted - Policy", also calls for a switch away from complaining about Labour's economic "mess" towards a more positive message.

There was no official comment from Downing Street but a source said the proposals were only at an early discussion stage and had not yet reached the desks of ministers.

Among the ideas were "front loading" child benefit to help with early years, moves to implement a "proper" ban on advertising to youngsters and a pay transparency website.

A "largely symbolic" move to pay Universal Credit to women by default and efforts to "force the pace" on choice in maternity services and criminalising forced marriage were also included.

The document accepted that it would be "brave" to try to change the long summer school holiday despite evidence it was hard for working families and adversely affected academic results.

The level of concern about unpopularity among women voters was underlined by plans to convene a "first rate team" of officials for intensive discussions on the issue. Polls showed women were "significantly more negative about the Government" than men and felt "targeted" by policies, especially the public sector pay and pension squeeze.

University tuition fees, the abolition of Child Trust Funds and changes to child tax credit also received more public attention than women-friendly policies such as free schools, it suggested.


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