Rushanara Ali MP calls for a halt to real terms cut to maternity pay

Local MP Rushanara Ali has slammed the Conservative-led Government’s plans to impose a £180 real terms cut to maternity pay for more than 2000 new mums in Bethnal Green and Bow while at the same time giving massive tax breaks to millionaires. 

Rushanara said:

“David Cameron promised he would lead the most family-friendly Government ever, but the reality shows he is leaving new mums stranded. Families shouldn’t have to pay the price of the Government’s failed economic policies - and especially working mums, who already face tough financial pressures when they have a new baby. My constituency has the highest rate of child poverty in the country, and this real terms cut to maternity pay for many will be devastating.”

New mums are already amongst the hardest hit by the coalition’s tax and benefit changes. On top of the real terms cuts to child benefit and tax credit changes faced by all parents – including child benefit freezes, reductions in support for childcare and frozen tax credits - new mums have already faced the scrapping of the Health in Pregnancy Grant; the restriction of the Sure Start Maternity Grant; and the scrapping of the baby addition to the Child Tax Credit. Figures compiled by the House of Commons Library have now confirmed that low paid new mums will lose £1,300 during pregnancy and over the first year of the child’s life due to cuts to pregnancy support, tax credits and real terms cuts to maternity pay. They are also losing a further £422 from cuts to child benefit over the same period.

Rushanara is joining Labour MPs across the country in opposing this damaging government policy. She is inviting people in Bethnal Green and Bow to sign a petition to David Cameron, calling on him to ‘help mums not millionaires’. To find out more visit

Instead of being uprated by CPI, in the years 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16, SMP will be uprated by just 1 per cent – a real terms cut. Figures verified by the House of Commons Library show that, this year, new mums can expect to receive £53.64 less in Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) than if their entitlement had been uprated using CPI.  By 2015, new mums will be receiving £180.11 less in SMP than if SMP had been uprated by CPI.

Local statistics on the number of new mums in Bethnal Green and Bow this year have been estimated using ward-level birth statistics for 2011 provided by the ONS. National averages of multiple birth rates (rounded to 2%) have then been applied to estimate the number of mums due to give birth (for the first time, or to an additional child) in the constituency. Please note this is not an indication of the number of new mums who will be affected by the ‘Mummy Tax’. Nationally, on average, 86 per cent of all mothers (who have worked at some point in the 12 months before the baby’s birth) receive SMP or Maternity Allowance (MA), and 53 per cent of all mothers receive only SMP or MA, with no additional occupational maternity support. However, statistics on the number of mothers who have worked at some point in the 12 months before the baby’s birth, or on the take-up of SMP or MA, at a constituency level are unavailable.

Nationally, up to 1.2 million people (including previous children and dads, alongside mums) may be affected by the ‘Mummy Tax’ each year. And an estimated 210,000 new mums (or over 60 per cent of those affected) will be hit hardest by the cap.

Labour’s ‘Help mums not millionaires’ campaign launched on 1st March 2013. For more information please visit