Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (6th December 2012) said that the small print of yesterday’s Autumn Statement by the Chancellor was beginning to reveal the real nature of the cuts being inflicted on poorer people and working people – and that the first target would be mothers who have just given birth or who are expecting a baby.
“Behind all the hyperbole whilst he was speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, the Chancellor did not mention that maternity pay is one of the benefits that will rise by just one per cent per year – lower than inflation.
“Up to yesterday afternoon, new mothers got maternity pay for 39 weeks, with the first six on almost full pay, and the remaining 33 weeks at £135.45 per week. To now limit it to 1% means that maternity pay will be raised by just £1.35 per week in April, rather than an inflation-linked increase of £3. This will simply just put a further squeeze on average household budgets as inflation increases the cost of living.
“Along with the cash hits on benefits claimants, the ill and the disabled and the freeze on child benefit, this hidden “stealth” move just shows that millions of working families, and mums taking time out from work to look after their new born baby will be hit too. To make it far worse this will happen on the same day that millionaires get an average tax cut of over £100,000. It’s completely unfair; it is a “mummy tax” and just proves that under the skin, the Tories are still simply the nasty party.”