07/12/2012 11:38 GMT

George Osborne Attacked Over 'Mummy Tax'

George Osborne has been accused of cutting crucial benefits to disabled people and introducing a "mummy tax" on new parents as he conducted a raid on welfare in order to help cut the deficit.

The Times reported on Friday that more than half a million disabled people will each lose up to £400 over the course of the next three years.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, a cross-bench peer and Paralympic gold medallist, told the paper: "The people who can least afford appear to be getting hit again."

In his Autumn Statement on Wednesday Osborne said that most working age benefits including Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support, Child Tax Credit and the Working Tax Credits would rise below inflation at 1%.

The chancellor's last Budget unravelled after critics took up arms against various tax changes including the infamous "pasty tax" and "granny tax".

Hoping to trigger similar outrage following the Autumn Statement, Labour has accused Osborne of bringing in a "mummy tax" as the benefit cut will affect maternity pay.

On thursday Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s shadow minister for women and equalities, said "new mums are paying a heavy price for George Osborne's economic failure".

"The chancellor tried to pretend yesterday that he was targeting what he characterised as the work-shy. But the truth is that he is hitting millions of working people and cutting £180 from new working mums who take maternity leave to care for their babies," she said.

"This real terms cut in maternity pay is effectively a £180 mummy tax on working women - and it's bad for the whole family. Evidence shows women on low income are less likely to take their full maternity leave because they can't afford to stay off work."

An analysis by the Resolution Foundation thinktank suggests that 60% of the impact of the proposed three-year, below-inflation rise in benefits will hit working households while only 40% will affect those where no one is in work.

"It’s completely wrong to say that today was all about helping so-called strivers," said the Foundation's chief executive Gavin Kelly.