“Millions of women in low-paid, part-time work will be among the main losers from tax and benefit changes that will come into effect in April, despite repeated government promises to help them, a new study of the chancellor’s recent budget has shown.
Analysis of the latest changes, carried out by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), has also found that income for the top 10% of households will increase by £1bn more than for the bottom 10%, widening the overall earnings gap between the richest and poorest.
Philip Hammond used his third budget to bring forward by a year a Conservative manifesto pledge to increase the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 and raise the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000.
Last week the women and equalities minister, Penny Mordaunt, said the government was committed to helping low-paid women. “We need to broaden out our work beyond the FTSE 350, beyond London, beyond women executives and big business,” she said. “We need to focus on small business, part-time work, women from all parts of the UK, low-paid women, women with multiple barriers to meeting their full potential.”
But the IPPR study, released to the Observer, shows that the vast majority (73%) of those who will fare worst from the budget changes – missing out on tax cuts because they earn too little to profit from the rise in allowance, and suffering reductions in real incomes as a result of the benefits freeze – will be women.
Many of these are part-time workers, a section of the workforce where median pay is £10,000 a year, and so below the new personal tax threshold of £12,500. …”