Equality: Backlash cost of cut to be higher

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On April 6, the Tory government put in place a shake-up of welfare payments that will disproportionately impact on the poorest people and children in society – of which two-thirds are actually in work, yet struggling.

This policy will limit poor and working families to two children by taking away child tax credits for any further child born after April 6.

I just wonder how many working women in Sheffield currently on maternity leave will be affected?

The Child Poverty Action Group estimates that this policy will push a quarter of a million children into poverty by 2020, directly damaging their life opportunities and affecting families that are just managing to get by.

I just wonder how many working women in Sheffield currently on maternity leave will be affected by this?

Though I accept that this policy may help the Government to save more money by taking it away from the poorest, and working people, I’m afraid in the longer term this policy will have a significant backlash effect, costing local public services more than the Government aims to save, due to the needs of those families who fall into the poverty trap.

Such is the outrage about this policy change that the UN committee on child poverty has demanded the Government explain how this policy helps them meet their child poverty target.

There are four circumstances in which families can claim tax credits for a third or subsequent child: instances of multiple births after the first child; children formally looked after by relatives under “kinship caring” arrangements; adopted children; and children born as a result of rape.

I describe this as the ‘rape clause’ – a further violation of the dignity and privacy of women who have been subject to heinous crimes, as they will be required to fill out an eight-page form so that they are able to claim for an exemption for a third child due to what the government calls “non-consensual conception”. 

In other words, this government wants women who are violated and abused through the most heinous of acts to submit a form to some bureaucrat to determine if they are eligible for an exemption or not.

I ask what civilised government does this to the people they claim to serve – it’s preposterous and medieval.

Talking about the abuse of women and further curtailing of women’s rights, I have to say I was appalled and sickened by our criminal judicial system that freed a perpetrator of domestic violence with a suspended sentence even though he was convicted of assaulting a woman that in common law is referred to as ‘wife’.

This man beat her up with a cricket bat, made her drink bleach, made her fear for her life – is found guilty of all these offences, yet still walks free.

What message does that send to all the brave women subject to abuse every day?

How can they have any confidence that the judicial system is on their side and not the perpetrators when such lenient sentences are handed out.

Judge Richard Mansell QC, deciding on the case, reportedly stated that he was ‘not convinced the victim was a vulnerable person’ as she was educated with a college degree and was ‘an intelligent woman with a network of friends’ .

On the other hand, he also said that he was not convinced of the defendant’s remorse but too k the perpetrator’s employment prospects (a cricketing contract) into account before sentencing.

Since that sentencing, and after a lot of lobbying, I’m glad to write that the perpetrator has now been imprisoned – not because our judicial system is fair, but more because the cricket contract was fake and the court had been misled.

I ask, what has happened to the fairness in our judicial system when it puts the potential employment rights and prospects of a convicted perpetrator over and above the rights of a victim – just because she is intelligent, has a degree and friends.

So much for gender progress and equality.