18:50 Thursday 11 April 2013

'Mummy tax' to be 'final straw' for new parents

Written byJOSHUA TAYLOR

Jon Wheale - Labour party prospective parliamentary candidate for Burton Jon Wheale - Labour party prospective parliamentary candidate for Burton

THOUSANDS of new parents in and around Burton could be hit by a so-called ‘mummy tax’ that came into effect last week, it has been claimed.

Jon Wheale, who will stand for the Labour Party in Burton in the 2015 General Election, said the measure would be the ‘final straw’ for new parents.

The annual rate of increase of many benefits, including statutory maternity pay, has been capped at one per cent, meaning they will rise slower than the cost of living.

Critics of the Government’s welfare reforms have dubbed the one per cent cap on maternity pay a ‘mummy tax’ and claim that new parents will be £180 a year worse off by 2015 than they would have been if the pay had risen in line with the cost of living.

The Government, however, has defended its changes to the welfare system, arguing the status quo is ‘unsustainable’ and pointing out that many people in employment are currently on pay freezes.

Mr Wheale said: “I think mums in Burton this year will want a government that is on their side.”

He accused the Government of ‘cutting support for new mums while cutting taxes for millionaires’.

“Real terms cuts to maternity pay for many will be the final straw,” Mr Wheale added.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “In difficult economic times we’ve protected the incomes of pensioners and disabled people and most working-age benefits will continue to increase one per cent.

“This was a tough decision but it’s one that will help keep the welfare bill sustainable in the longer term.

“By raising the personal allowance threshold, we’ve lifted two million people out of tax altogether.”

There were 3,533 women who gave birth in East Staffordshire, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire in 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available.

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