The Autumn Statement at the beginning of December rounded off a
year that has seen the biggest attack on women for a generation.
Official figures released by the independent House of Commons
library revealed that of the £2.37 billion announced in measures
which directly affect personal income, 73 per cent will come from
This is just further evidence that it is women who are being hit
twice as hard as men by the Tory-led Government. Women are taking
the greatest strain.
As I've said before, David Cameron and his Cabinet of
millionaires have a blind spot where women are concerned. Time and
again, they fail to see that it is women who are suffering the
consequences of their failing economic plan.
Women's unemployment is at its highest level for over two
decades. Changes to the retirement age mean that women in their 50s
will now have to work longer and harder until they can retire.
Women with children are being targeted with the closure and cutting
back of Sure Start centres and cuts are now threatening the future
of support programmes for domestic violence and women's
The Fawcett Society and women's organisations across the country
have this year called on the Government to change course. Yet
instead of responding the Government just keeps on piling on the
pressure. Even their own internal memos admit they have a problem
where women are concerned.
It has never been clearer than in 2011 that the Tories just
don't get women.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Labour's five point plan for
the economy would help provide new opportunities for women in the
workplace and our proposal for a reversal in January's VAT rise
would go some way to help ease the squeeze so many are facing.
While the Prime Minister and Chancellor are enjoying the
festivities this Christmas, I'd urge them both to reflect on the
impact of their decisions on women. Maybe then they'll make it
their New Year's resolution to adopt consider a new plan for the
economy that puts women first.
Finally i'd like to wish all readers a merry Christmas and best
wishes for 2012.