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Women to be hit six times harder than men by George Osborne’s tax and welfare changes

Women will be hit six times harder than men by George Osborne’s tax and welfare changes, analysis reveals

  • 86% of savings will hit women, while just 14% will fall on men before 2020
  • Rise in 40p tax threshold overwhelmingly benefits men, analysis finds
  • Just a quarter of the 3.2million higher-rate taxpayers are women 

The tax and benefit changes made by George Osborne (pictured presenting his eighth Budget outside 11 Downing Street earlier this month) have hit women six times harder than men, according to a fresh study published today 

Women will be hit more than six times harder than men by George Osborne’s changes to welfare and tax, according to fresh analysis published today. 

A staggering 86 per cent of savings made by cuts to benefits and tax changes since 2010 will hit women, while just 14 per cent will have fallen on men between 2010 and 2020. 

The study finds that the Chancellor’s flagship tax cut for middle class earners announced in his Budget earlier this month will overwhelmingly benefit men. 

Mr Osborne announced the 40p tax threshold will rise to £45,000 next year but only a quarter of the 3.2million higher-rate taxpayers are women.  

Labour said the analysis, conducted by the House of Commons library, accused the Government of failing to match their promises on gender equality. 

Meanwhile Mr Osborne has been dealt a fresh blow after the independent budget watchdog found he was wrong to claim that the cut in the 50p tax cut – announced in his ‘omnishambles’ 2012 Budget – had raised extra funds for the taxpayer. 

The Chancellor claimed last month that his decision to cut the rate of tax paid on earnings over £150,000 to 45p had raised an extra £8billion in the 2013/14 financial year. 

But the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has suggested that the windfall was a one-off as higher earners had deferred their payments from the previous financial year, leading to larger-than-expected revenue for the Treasury in 2014. 

It said the tax cut was likely to have cost the Treasury £100million.  

Responding to research that indicates Mr Osborne’s tax and benefit changes will have a disproportionate impact on women, shadow minister for women and equalities Kate Green said: ‘Yet again the government have exposed themselves as being strong on rhetoric but weak on action when it comes to equality and understanding the real, human impact of their policies. 

‘86% of the net savings made through tax and benefit changes since 2010 will have come from women yet the government voted down Labour proposals in December to conduct an urgent cumulative gender impact assessment of their policies.

‘David Cameron and George Osborne could conduct this analysis if they wanted to make sure their polices are fair to women but they are choosing not to. 

Mr Osborne (pictured in the House of Commons delivering his Budget earlier this month) was also dealt a fresh blow after the independent budget watchdog found he was wrong to claim that the cut in the 50p tax cut - announced in his 'omnishambles' 2012 Budget - had raised extra funds for the taxpayer

Mr Osborne (pictured in the House of Commons delivering his Budget earlier this month) was also dealt a fresh blow after the independent budget watchdog found he was wrong to claim that the cut in the 50p tax cut – announced in his ‘omnishambles’ 2012 Budget – had raised extra funds for the taxpayer

‘We repeat our calls to the government to do the responsible thing and conduct an urgent cumulative gender impact assessment of their policies and to put in place a strategy to ensure that they are promoting rather than turning back the clock on women’s economic equality.’  

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: ‘The government is committed to fairness and achieving greater equality of opportunity for women — the reality is our welfare reforms are helping more women into work and offering a strong safety net for those who can’t.

‘With a record number of women in work, our reforms to extend free childcare and flexible working are giving more women the security of a regular wage with the national living wage set to boost pay even further.’

50p TAX DODGE LED TO £8BN FOR TREASURY: HIGHER EARNERS SHIFTED MONEY BETWEEN TAX YEARS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOWER 45p RATE 

George Osborne (pictured on the Andrew Marr Show earlier this month) had claimed that cutting the rate of income tax paid by people earning more than £150,000 from 50p in the pound to 45p would lead to the Treasury reaping more money

George Osborne (pictured on the Andrew Marr Show earlier this month) had claimed that cutting the rate of income tax paid by people earning more than £150,000 from 50p in the pound to 45p would lead to the Treasury reaping more money

Rich people deferring their income until after the top rate of tax was slashed were a major factor in the Treasury taking an extra £8billion in revenue, the independent Office for Budget Responsibility has said.

George Osborne had claimed that cutting the rate of income tax paid by people earning more than £150,000 from 50p in the pound to 45p would lead to the Treasury reaping more money.

The Chancellor later said that his move in slashing the rate had led to an ‘£8billion increase in revenues from additional rate taxpayers’ and that the figures vindicated his approach.

But the OBR attributed much of the gains to high earners shifting money between tax years. 

In a footnote to its Economic and Fiscal Outlook report last week, it said that ‘taxpayers shifting income between years to take advantage of the lower 45p rate is likely to be a major factor driving this increase’.

Many high earners chose to defer their income until the 2013-14 financial year, when the top rate of tax was cut from 50p to 45p.

City bonuses soared by 70 per cent in April 2013, when the top rate of tax was cut, compared to the year before.

Jon Ashworth, Labour’s shadow minister without portfolio, said: ‘This is an embarrassing slap down for George Osborne, whose claims have been called out by his own independent body.

‘With his latest Budget in disarray this is a reminder of George Osborne’s disastrous decision in the last Parliament to cut the 50p rate and hand a tax cut to those at the top while making everyone else pay more.’

A Treasury spokesman said: ‘Latest figures published by HMRC show that in the year that the 50p rate was reduced to 45p, there was an £8billion increase in revenues from additional rate tax payers and at the same time, following increases to the personal allowance, the number of taxpayers fell by 200,000.

‘Under this Government, the richest pay a higher proportion of income tax, and this shows our reforms mean lower, competitive taxes that are paid by all.’

Treasury sources said they had always expected some of the extra tax to be due to deferred income.

The last Labour government introduced the 50p rate for those earning over £150,000 in April 2010, just a month before losing power.

 

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