The government are to cap maternity and paternity pay if there is a baby boom David Cameron has revealed.
In the government’s benefit cap plan, the chancellor would set the cap on benefits spending at the beginning of each parliament, and the only benefit which not be affected is the state pension. The government plan to implement this latest travesty in 2015 after the exact limit is announced in spring of next year.
New mothers are legally entitled to a weekly rate equal to 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings for the first six weeks of their baby’s life. They receive £136.78 a week for the remaining 33 weeks.
New fathers are presently allowed to take up to two weeks off work to look after their babies. The statutory rate is £136.78 a week, or 90 per cent of the father’s average weekly earnings if that is less.
During Prime Minister’s questions, Labour’s Fiona O’Donnell asked: “While the Prime Minister is trying to come over all family friendly can you confirm if maternity and paternity pay will be included in the benefits cap announced in the Autumn Statement?”
Cameron replied: “As the Chancellor announced at the time what is out of the benefit cap is the basic state pension, I think that’s important. On all other welfare spending what we have to do is make sure we are distributing properly between the different sorts of welfare.”
Any reduction in maternity or paternity pay will affect low earners who are unable to save to compensate for their time off from work the most.
Again, instead of rethinking the way this benefit is paid – perhaps based on a sliding scale of earnings or a cap on the maximum amount paid instead of 90% – the government have implemented a policy which applies equally across all earners, but the value of which has significant impact on the lower earners.
Even though people should take responsibility, and think very carefully before bringing another little person into this world, the maternity and paternity benefits are there to support parents during the financially difficult initial stages after the child’s birth – it is not a long-term benefit.
Considering that the government expects every person to become an economic slave, whether male or female, and in the current economic climate many families (especially those on low incomes) can not afford for one partner to stay at home, any cuts to these benefits will have a significant impact.
It sounds more like yet another social engineering exercise where only the well-off will be able to afford to have children in the future.