Since 2010, the Government has made a series of cuts to maternity benefits which have left pregnant women and new mothers with considerably less financial support. The Valuing Maternity Campaign Coalition is deeply concerned about these reductions in benefits and, to begin to explore this, have released the new Cutbacks Calculator.
The Cutbacks Calculator works out the amount of money that pregnant women and new mums have missed out on since 2010 as a result of these changes. The missed income calculations focus on the loss of:
- Health in Pregnancy Grant of £190 (abolished in January 2011)
- Sure Start Maternity Grant of £500 (restricted first children only from April 2011)
- Child Benefit of up to £1,055 per child (drop in real value as no increase with inflation since 2010 and means-tested to exclude families with a higher income earner)
- Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance up to £180 per pregnancy (drop in real value from below inflation up-rating)
We have had a high number of responses so far and the comments have been revealing. Take a look at some of the effects that these changes have had on pregnant women, new mums and families:
“Any unplanned expenses, or unavoidable ones such as insurance, car costs etc make us feel sick with worry. We wanted 2 children- we're not sure if it's at all possible now. We just couldn't survive. I can't afford not to work, I also can't afford to go back to work and pay childcare. It's impossible.” (Lost £487.67)
- “I went back to work when my oldest was 7 months as we ran out of money. I had hoped to stay at home but it was work or lose our home.” (Lost £756.35)
- “This money would have been used to pay for essentials such as a cot and mattress, clothes, nappies, and pushchair.” (Lost £1,543.75)
- “I'm stunned! We do our best to make our money go as far as we can but three children are just expensive!” (Lost £3,122.75)
Use the Cutbacks Calculator to find out how much you have lost as a result to cuts to maternity benefits and let us know what this would have meant to you. Tweet your responses to @MaternityAction and share the link with your friends.