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Chancellor is picking women’s pockets with £48bn Budget raid, claims Labour

·2-min read

Labour has accused the Chancellor of “picking women’s pockets” with his Budget, claiming it will leave females almost £50 billion worse off.

Analysis for the Opposition by the House of Commons Library suggests Rishi Sunak’s Budget, combined with other recent policy changes, will leave women £48 billion poorer.

Shadow equalities secretary and party chair Anneliese Dodds called the findings “scandalous”.

In workings shared by the library, it estimates that £39.3 billion of the hike in national insurance contributions announced last month to 1.25 percentage points from April to help fund the NHS and social care will come out of women’s budgets.

Women will bear 51% of the costs involved with reducing the pension triple lock to a double lock for a year from 2022/23, it said.

The £15.5 billion bill for the change will leave women pensioners an average of £2,500 worse off than they would have been over the next five years, Labour said.

A further £161 million will be deducted from women’s incomes after the move to push back the pension credit to housing benefit merger date from April 2023 to the same month in 2025.

Ms Dodds said: “It’s scandalous that this Conservative Government is picking women’s pockets at a time when so many are still picking up the pieces from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Women needed a plan to tackle the growing cost of living crisis, to remove the enormous tax burden on working people and for growth to boost the economy.

“What they got was an out of touch budget that cut taxes on banks, frequent flyers and champagne but left women a whopping £48 billion worse off over the next six years.

“The lack of any actual equality impact assessment in this Budget tells you all you need to know about this Government’s priorities. When it comes to the Conservatives, equality isn’t one of them.”

The party said the “Budget raid” on women’s finances came at a time when women are continuing to struggle with the “hugely unequal impact” of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Women were more likely to be furloughed, more likely to lose income to home-school, and more likely to work in sectors that are expected to see the slowest economic recovery from the crisis,” Labour said.

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