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'Women will bear brunt of public sector cuts' Mailbag letters also appear online at www.examiner.co.uk/views-and-blogs/reader-letters Mailbag.

IN HUDDERSFIELD like many towns and cities across Britain, we are facing the biggest cuts in public spending for generations.

What is so significant about these cuts is the malice and aforethought that accompanies their implementation.

What do the public services do? They protect and take care of the vulnerable, the very old, the very young, the most marginalised members of our communities.

These cuts are cruel, unnecessary and are merely about the Tory/Lib Coalition asserting their power over us. Not a single penny needs to be cut.

Furthermore, it will be women who will be the hardest hit by the cuts. Women will be affected disproportionately as so many of them are employed in public services. Two thirds of the public sector workforce are women.

Already we are seeing the impact locally - lollipop ladies, health visitors, district nurses, midwives, social workers, women employed in the voluntary sector with the most marginalised in society are all being put under threat from the survival of the fittest ConDem policies.

Women are also the greater users of public services - twice as many women rely on benefits as men. Cuts to local government services and job losses will mean that women will be the ones called upon to cover these services voluntarily in the Tory notion of the Big Society.

Sometimes this will mean women reducing their own employment to take on carer responsibilities for family and neighbours.

In education too, initiatives designed to cut across gender discrimination in work such as apprenticeships will be among the casualties when the Young Person's Guarantee of work or training for four years between the ages of 18 and 24 is scrapped. Young people are also targeted with the abolition of the EMA from September. This is often portrayed as pocket money for teenagers when, in reality, it is a vital source of support for low income families. From January 2013 child benefit will be abolished for families where one of the earners is in the high tax bracket. Once we accept means tested child benefit we begin the very slippery slope away from universal benefits.

Research from the TUC shows that the biggest losers overall from the Tory/Liberal plans will be single mothers with an estimated loss to their net annual income of pounds 3,121 - that is a fifth of their income.

It's no accident that women will bear the brunt of the cuts. The Government has taken on opponents who are, in their eyes, an easy target.

In the main, women are employed as cheap labour, easily dispensable, still seen as a reserve army of labour often employed on temporary contracts or part-time, relief workers. They can be easily manipulated to work atrocious terms and conditions. The drive to push through public sector cuts is plainly a political and ideological exercise in which the class lines are being clearly set apart and society becomes more polarised. The rich become richer while the poorest are getting poorer.

The bankers create the crisis from their greed and a thirst for profit and those least able to pay are the ones being made to pay.

PAULINE WHEAT-BOWEN Huddersfield
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Mar 11, 2011
Words:524
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