THOUSANDS of new mums in Milton Keynes could be hit in the pocket in the new year courtesy of a cut to maternity pay.
New parents were singled out by the Government when maternity pay was included in the one per cent freeze rate for benefits in the Autumn Statement. With inflation set to outstrip this rate it means a real terms cut in maternity pay over the next three years.
Andres Pakes, Labour’s parliamentary spokesman for Milton Keynes, has warnedthe new cap on child support could see thousands of parents losing out as living costs continue to squeeze family incomes.
According to NHS figures, 3,912 babies were born in Milton Keynes in 2010. Maternity pay is paid up for up to 39 weeks and is an important part of helping new parents to adjust to a new baby at home.
The Government also announced that the Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit will only go up by one per cent for the next three years as well. This is effectively a cut, since the increase is less than the rate of inflation.
Mr Pakes said: “Thousands are parents will feel a chill from George Obsorne’s hit on maternity pay and child support. The Tories say they want to tackle benefit scroungers yet 60 per cent of the cuts will affect families in work.
“We are a growing city that should be doing all we can to support parents and to help children get the best start in life. Yet the Autumn Statement said nothing about childcare costs and will actually make it more difficult for new parents.”