Statistics show inequality is rife when it comes to benefit cuts
Women are being unfairly hit by UK government cuts to benefits and welfare, according to figures from the Scottish Government.
An estimated 20% of women’s income comes from benefits and child tax credits, compared to 10% of men’s, it has been revealed.
Meanwhile, of all in-work families receiving child tax credits, 87% of recipients were women. For in-work single parents, 94% of recipients were female.
Equalities secretary Angela Constance said the figures showed “an appalling assault on the incomes of ordinary people already struggling to make ends meet.”
By 2020-21 it is estimated around 50,000 Scottish households will be affected by the changes to child tax credits, which will be capped at two children.
This means anyone with two children or more will no longer receive tax credits at the birth of their next child or subsequent children, unless an exception applies. The policy also affects those making a new Universal Credit claim.
In addition, new families will lose £545 a year from the removal of the family element – an additional payment that applies to the birth of a first child.
The figures come after thousands signed a petition demanding the controversial rape clause is binned by the UK goverment.
The clause makes women who have been raped prove eligibility when applying for child benefit for more than two children.
Constance said: “It is all the more concerning because in many households women are the primary, or even sole, carers of children – a massive step backwards for equality in our society.
“As usual we are seeing an alarming lack of understanding from the UK government about the impact of their ideologically-driven policies. This is most evident in the extremely ill-thought through rape clause, where – shockingly – women have to provide evidence they’ve been raped to access benefits.
“The UK government’s callous policies make our own efforts to eradicate child poverty even harder. We are spending some £100 million a year on welfare mitigation to protect the vulnerable and those on low incomes, which we would rather be investing in anti-poverty measures.
“The reality is we are tackling deep seated issues of inequality with one hand tied behind our back.”
The Scottish Government is currently recruiting 2,000 people to shape Scotland’s own social security system via experience panels made up from members of the public and those who have had direct experience of welfare benefits.