George Osborne calls his Budget one for "An Aspiration Nation" and claims it is aimed at "people who want to work hard and get on". But those people don't apparently include mothers, unless those mothers go out to work and pay somebody else to look after their children.
The budget now offers £1200 per annum in tax relief for child care costs, to women who hold down a job outside the home - but nothing to those who stay at home and take charge of the children themselves. That is an insult.
This means that couples who earn up to £150,000 each, totalling £300,000 will be getting a subsidy. But there will be nothing for people who earn only £20,000 and live in a conventional way with one parent staying at home to care for the children. In fact they may very likely be hit by the welfare cuts. They will certainly be feeling inflation far more keenly. Does Mr Osborne think that women who are not employed for a salary are all just sitting around doing nothing all day? Being a full-time mother and housewife is hard work. I did it myself for seven years and it kept me busy from 6am till 10.30pm almost non-stop, seven days a week. With all the proof there is that children fare better in many ways when brought up with the continuous care and attention of a loving parent, why isn't that regarded as part of the the "Aspiration Nation"?
The price of beer is to be cut by a whole 1p per pint, and before you weep with gratitude, remember it's going to be made up with a rise in duty on wine and spirits. Drivers are meant to be grateful just for a freeze on petrol duty, when they were expecting the usual hike-up. It's true that the Chancellor has now raised the income tax threshold to £10,000 but he got that idea by reading the UKIP manifesto. Copy-cat!