New parents will be left £224 out of pocket by 2015 thanks to below-inflation rises to child-friendly benefits, a children's charity chief has said.
Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, explained:
We strongly support this call for family-friendly benefits to increase in line with prices. This reinforces NCT research, published last month, showing that below-inflation increases to maternity and paternity pay mean new parents will lose out by £224 by 2015.
These changes will hit families' finances hard at a time when they should be focusing on bonding with their new baby.
We call on the Government to show that they value parents by increasing maternity and paternity pay in line with prices.
The planned 1% increase to statutory maternity and paternity pay, adoption pay and child benefit introduced was still a cut, the TUC argued, because it was below the rate of inflation.
This was the fourth successive cut in the value of the benefits, which it claimed had led to new and expectant parents being £450 a year worse off, the union added.
General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "New babies are wonderful - but they can also be expensive, as any parent can attest. That's why it's important we protect the real value of family friendly benefits to give new parents the help they need to buy baby essentials.
"Family friendly benefits have come under stealth attack in every Budget since mid-2010. Successive years of real-terms cuts will leave expectant and new parents up to £450 worse off this year - enough to buy a year's supply of nappies, wipes and babygrows."
TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady slammed the Chancellor's Budget as "highly political" and "short-term".
Ms O'Grady said, “The best news for the long-term health of the economy is the genuine help for manufacturing, but it was the exception in this highly political short-term Budget that continued the Chancellor’s project to shrink the state and help the rich.”
A TUC report into an increase in the number of public sector staff doing overtime for free says that will some staff put in extra hours because of commitment to their job, there is also evidence of "bullying and excessive management pressure."
Times are tough for public sector workers. As the cuts bite and fewer staff find themselves having to take on more work, unpaid overtime inevitably grows.
Some of the increase will be down to the professionalism and commitment of staff who want to provide decent services.
But there is also evidence of bullying and excessive management pressure in some workplaces.
It is not surprising that morale is so low across the public sector. Hours are up, workload has increased, pay has been frozen, pensions cut and jobs insecure as public sector staff know that 60% of the cuts are still to come.
The Government's figures on take home pay should be taken "with several tonnes of salt", the TUC has claimed.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the figures "do not include the effects of tax credits and benefits".
Freezing child benefit has hit families hard.
The figures use the lowest possible measure of inflation (CPI), which excludes housing costs, and is not the one that the government uses to index rail fares (RPI) and other important contributors to living costs.
The analysis also uses the most generous possible measure for wages, and not the one that the Government uses (average weekly earnings) when measuring incomes.
The Government's mission to turn round the plight of the British economy is working "slowly but surely" according to Treasury aides.
Labour's trade uinion paymasters should remember it is Labour's economic mess that has hit living standards. Despite this, our plan is slowly but surely working - the economy is growing, the deficit is falling and jobs are being created - that's the only sustainable way to raise living standards.
As we deal with Labour's deficit, we are also taking steps to help hard-working families along the way, such as cutting income tax for 25 million people; freezing fuel duty and council tax; and providing tax-free childcare.
But Labour's alternative of more borrowing and more debt would mean higher taxes and higher mortgage rates - making hard-working people worse off.
The Government's economic plan has got all sectors of the economy growing, the deficit falling and jobs being created. This is the only sustainable way to raise living standards for hardworking families.
The Government appreciates that times are tough, and has taken continued action to help families with the cost of living, including cutting tax for 25 million people and taking 2.7 million people out of income tax altogether by 2014; freezing fuel duty so that petrol prices are 13p per litre below where they would otherwise have been; and providing working families with support for the costs of childcare.
Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O'Grady will tell a conference today that the Government are "desperately short of solutions" in dealing with the cost of living crisis in Britain.
The Government has belatedly woken up to our cost of living crisis. But ministers are desperately short of solutions because they're still not prepared to challenge the 'market knows best' ideology that has somehow survived the biggest global crash since the 1930s.
– Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O'Grady
The economic recovery has passed most people by, with households being excluded from the benefits of growth, a union leader will warn today.
Trades Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O'Grady will tell a conference that the economy has grown by £60 billion in the last four years, but real household disposable incomes have increased by only £1 billion.
Once population growth is taken into account, disposable incomes have fallen by almost £500 per person, she will tell the annual conference of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies think tank.
O'Grady will say: "The historic link between economic growth and rising incomes has been broken under this Government. Households are being excluded from the benefits of growth. Unless this changes, the recovery will be meaningless to the vast majority of people across Britain."