The Fawcett society have published a report showing:
-The government could assess the different impact of its tax and benefit policies on women and men using data currently available. This runs counter to its claim that any meaningful assessment is impossible.
– Such an assessment, considering all tax and benefit reforms to be introduced between 2010 – 2015, shows that single women will lose more as a proportion of their income than other households as a result of the cuts.
– Single mothers can expect to lose 8.5 per cent of their net annual income by 2015 –more than a month’s income each year.
The full report ‘Single Mothers: Singled Out – the impact of 2010-15 tax and benefit changes on women and men’ can be found here.
As well as the impact of changes already introduced there are concerns about the impact of the welfare Bill 2010-11.
The Bill provides for the introduction of a ‘Universal Credit’ to replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age, starting from 2013. Key concerns are:
- Universal Credit (UC) is a means tested household benefit which will be paid to one member of a couple only. Couples can nominate who the payment should go to.
- Payment for children and childcare costs to be included in the UC payment – transfer of money from ‘purse to wallet.’
- Withdrawal of benefit for second earners (usually women) will be at much higher rate – discouraging women in couples from working.
- It will leave women in couples – where the man is the nominated recipient – with no independent income of their own.
- Payment for housing is to be included in UC – may mean the money is paid to the person who is not liable for the housing costs.
- Push for lone parents to find work when their children are younger than previously (child over 5)
- Universal Credit to be paid monthly to ‘mimic’ wages.
All of these measures will lead to the greater economic dependency of women on their partner and increase the risk of financial abuse. This Bill is currently making its way through Westminster, please think about contacting your MP to highlight these concerns.