Budget: Mums need a proper break this Mother's Day

Related Topics

This is the morning for mothers to take a break from holding the world together. But this year, for many mums, it isn't their family they need to give them a break; it's the Government.

Seven out of 10 mums say they are financially close to the edge, and one in five admit to skipping meals to feed the kids. Last year, 30,000 women gave up work because they couldn't afford it. With childcare costs rising and working tax credits being cut, women's unemployment has reached record levels.

And it's mums and dads who are taking the strain in David Cameron's Big Society, too. Mothers are working hard to keep the local nursery or the mother and toddler groups open after 20 per cent Sure Start cuts. They are trying to find their teenagers jobs as youth unemployment soars, rejigging their working day since the school breakfast club closed, and checking on elderly parents now the Meals on Wheels have gone. Now the Government is pushing them too far.

There are tough decisions to take on tax, spending and pay. But the Chancellor has chosen to take three times more from families with children than from the banks. As a result, figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies confirm that a family with children will be, on average, £530 worse off next year.

Already the Chancellor has cut childcare tax credit and frozen child benefit. But George Osborne is taking a shocking £3bn from mothers of school-age children next year as compared to 2010. And he is going back for more – with the tax on motherhood rising to £6bn in 2013 and £7bn in 2014.

Yet what is the Government's priority for this Budget? A tax cut for people earning in excess of £150,000 a year – of whom only 15 per cent are women.

There are four things the Government could do as a Mother's Day present in this year's Budget. First, they should boost jobs and growth because women's jobs are being most heavily hit. Women accounted for 80 per cent of the increase in unemployment revealed in this month's jobs statistics.

Second, they should reverse the rule change planned for working tax credit, which will leave thousands of part-time working mums worse off by £70 a week from April, and thousands better off if they quit work.

Third, they should reverse the £1.6bn pension tax relief boost for those on more than £150,000 and use that cash to reverse the cuts to child tax credit.

Fourth, they should rethink the child benefit changes. Taking more than £2,000 from a stay-at-home mum just because her husband on £42,000 gets a £1,000 pay rise is absurd; as is taking all child benefit away from a single-earner family on £43,000 while a two-earner family on £84,000 keeps all of theirs.

We've known for some time that David Cameron and George Osborne have a blind spot on women. But when they do so much damage to motherhood, children, men and our economy all suffer badly, too. The Government has the chance to change course and make Budget Day a real Mother's Day this year.

Yvette Cooper is Labour spokesperson on home affairs and equality. Rachel Reeves is a Treasury spokesperson for the party

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Graduate Pricing Analyst - 6 months / 1 year analytical experience

£20000 - £25000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

IT Specialist for a one month cover role

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IC...

History Teacher

£7200 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education is...

Day In a Page

Read Next

By saying he'll fund the NHS with a 'mansion tax' Ed Miliband is waging class warfare — and I love it

Max Benwell
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits