Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tories wake up to anti-family tax bias

Briefing: a pity the Conservatives didn't do anything about this when they were in power: except to run down the Married Person's Tax Allowance. It is worth noting also that the 'choice' Thersa May wants to give to mothers is not enough: as well as the tax system, it is a culture which gives little respect to family life which forces mothers back to work. The traditional family needs to be promoted, not just permitted.

From CFNews: In a wide-ranging analysis of the position of women in British society, the Tories said the Government had set up the tax and benefits system to limit parents' choices about when and if they go back to work. The 'Women in the World Today' report suggests that each full-time parent saves the state £29,000 a year in services, but points out that the tax system makes no allowance for families where a parent chooses to stay at home to care for a child.

It also says that by failing to crack down on discrimination in the workplace, ministers have allowed a situation where mothers who take time out of their careers to care for children experience reduced future earnings.

The report says: 'Labour's approach has been to try to get parents back to full-time work, and in doing so, those parents who want to care for their children often feel discriminated against and penalised for making the choice that suits them.'

Just one in 10 women of working age is staying at home full-time, according to official figures.

About 13.4 million women of all ages - the highest number recorded - have jobs, more than 55 per cent of them full-time.

Theresa May, the shadow minister for women, who launched the report, said a Conservative government would give mothers more choice. 'Women shouldn't be thought of as a single monolithic bloc but as 30 million individuals who should be given a real choice over their own lives,' she said.

The study also found that many working mothers find themselves unable to spend as much time at home with young children as they might like to.

Some 66 per cent of mothers take less maternity leave than the 26 weeks they are entitled to, the report said. Mrs May said the report's finding that women are still paid an average of 17 per cent less than men in similar jobs reflected badly on Labour and some big employers.

In particular, she criticised Sir Alan Sugar, the Amstrad boss and the star of BBC television's The Apprentice.

Sir Alan told The Daily Telegraph last week that employment rules barring employers from asking job applicants if they plan to get married and have children resulted in some companies rejecting female applicants out of hand.

'It's about time people like Alan Sugar stopped taking an outdated view of women in the workplace, stopped talking about why employing women is such a problem for business and started talking about why employing women is good for business,' Mrs May said.

Part of the Tories' proposed solution to the workplace gender gap is compulsory pay audits for companies which lose sex discrimination cases.

The Tories launched their study as an independent report from London University's Institute of Education found that working class parents and single mothers effectively face 'coercion' to get back into work.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen