Prentis says it’s looking worse for women than in a generation


UNISON is warning that plans to cut tax credits from part time workers will hit women especially hard.

From next month, couples with children earning less than £17,700 a year will have to increase their working hours from a minimum of 16 to 24 hours per week or they will lose their working tax credits. This is worth £3,870 per year, or more than £70 a week, to families. The government’s own figures show that 212,000 households could be hit – including 470,000 children.

UNISON is warning that unemployment and job cuts will make it impossible for most part time working women to get extra hours – meaning that thousands will lose this benefit. Some women may also be forced to leave work if the cuts mean they can no longer afford childcare – the cost of which is spiralling out of control.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: “On International Women’s Day things are looking worse for UK women than they have for a generation. The Tory-led coalition is busy undoing years of hard won progress.

“Not only are women bearing the brunt of the recession, they are unemployed in record numbers, and are hardest hit by Tory cuts to public services and jobs. With women almost three times as likely to work part time than men, cuts to working tax credits will have a disproportionate impact. The government is right to be very worried about losing the support of women voters.

“These drastic cuts to working tax credits are set to hit women hard but they will raise less for The Treasury than the value of bonuses paid to RBS bankers this year. Clearly, we are not all in this together. Women did not cause this financial crisis, but they are paying a heavy price for it. The government has to take urgent action to protect women.”

In its 2011 budget The Treasury estimated this change to working tax credits will raise £515 million in 2012/13. This is almost £200 million less than the total value of bonuses paid to RBS bankers this year – £785 million.

*The latest ONS labour market statistics show that 2,021,000 men work part time, compared to 5,801,000 women. 

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