Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, responding to a survey for Netmums showing the effects of the rising cost of living on families, said:
“The scale of the pressure on families highlighted in this survey is truly shocking. The quiet crisis we warned was happening behind closed doors has burst out into the open and could get even worse. It is time that Ministers listened to the voices of mums across the country about the stress and suffering their policies are imposing on families, and took action to help and not makes matters worse.
“It is clear that David Cameron’s promise that his Government would be the most family friendly in history is in tatters. The reality is, time and again they are hitting women and families harder – independent research has shown that cuts to childcare, tax credits and public sector job losses have left women shouldering 70 per cent of the burden of economic austerity. Now 70 per cent of families have been pushed to the very edge too. Over half of the families surveyed said that if one more thing changes they will face unbearable hardship.
“Yet, worryingly, this is exactly the Government's plan. In April they will hit family budgets hard reducing family tax credits and working tax credits for women working part-time.
"It is time that the Government woke up to the fact that their decisions are leaving mums on the brink and actually took action to help women and families rather than make matters worse.”
Cathy Jamieson MP, Labour's shadow economic secretary to the Treasury, said:
“This survey shows just how tough things are for millions of families. But this out of touch Government is making things worse, not better, for the squeezed middle.
“While the Government is giving the banks a tax cut this year, the VAT rise has hit families hard - costing a couple with kids around £450 per year. And working parents already struggling to get by face further huge cuts to tax credits in just a few weeks time.
“That’s why Labour is calling for a change of course and a plan for jobs and growth, including a temporary VAT cut, to help families feeling the squeeze and get our economy moving again.”