MEN would benefit more than women from the Chancellor’s rumoured plans to cut National Insurance Contributions (NICs) by one percentage point, at a cost of about £4.5 billion a year.

Lone mothers would gain the least of working age groups at £40 per year, compared to £112 for lone fathers and £298 for a couple with no children, distributional analysis from the Women’s Budget Group finds. Overall, on average men would stand to gain 9.4 per cent more per year from the cut than women.

Potential cuts to unprotected departments to fund tax cuts would come on top of the £19.1 billion real term loss in departmental spending by 2027/28 as a result of inflation and decisions made in the Autumn Statement 2023, as forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

Women’s Budget Group (WBG), the feminist economics think tank, calls on the Government to invest in the public sector instead of implementing tax cuts – which will benefit the country as a whole and also provide better support to the most vulnerable households such as lone-mothers and others on low incomes.

Ignacia Pinto, Senior Research and Policy Officer at the Women’s Budget Group said: “Cutting taxes and public spending under the banner of economic growth does not make sense. Even organisations like the IMF are warning against this. If you dismantle the very foundations holding our economy together and undermine people’s ability to look after themselves and others, you will inevitably further weaken the economy and erode living standards. At the end of the day it is people who make up the economy. This is not a solution to the cost of living crisis; it’s a surefire way to prolong it.”

“These cuts would come on top of the NICs cuts announced back in the Autumn which we’ve seen have benefitted lone-mothers the least. We know that these cuts aren’t what the public prioritise. People in the UK recognise that taxes are the vital contribution they make to fund our social infrastructure, and they want to be able to get a nursery place for their child, see a doctor when they’re ill, and get support when they need it.”

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women’s Budget Group added: “Rather than tax cuts, funded by another round of austerity, we need to invest in our public services that have already been cut to the bone. Birmingham City Council offers a glimpse into what many other local authorities will be facing soon: streets [sic] lights dimmed, uncollected rubbish piling up, libraries closing, and crucial services like youth groups, adult social care, and life-saving services for victim-survivors of domestic and sexual abuse slashed.

“We know from over a decade of austerity that when essential services contract or disappear, it is women who lose out the most: they rely more on public services, they make up the majority of its workforce, and they tend to fill in the cracks left behind by spending cuts through their own unpaid work. This is a recipe for disaster for women.”

“The cost of living crisis is far from over, and as we have seen, it is women who remain the shock absorbers of poverty. Despite claims from the Chancellor that we’ve turned a corner, millions of women and low-income households across the UK continue to struggle. A jaw-dropping 15 per cent of UK households experienced food insecurity last month, at the same time that cost of living payments are ending. It’s unconscionable that the Government persists in prioritising tax cuts over public investment.”

* Source: Women’s Budget Group