The manifestos of the main political parties are now launched and I've been wondering how this is going to impact on us?
We are almost invisible in most manifestos. Oh yes, all parties talk about the need for 'fairness' and an end to discrimination but concrete pledges are thin on the ground. Most manifestos reference LGBT people but go on to talk about issues that are not that relevant to most lesbians e.g. HIV.
With such a small amount of pledges to support Lesbians from any party I've taken an informed but very unscientific stab at what the wider issues are that we may care about. Today I'm getting on my soapbox about equal pay. These views are my own.
Part 1 - Fair Pay
The gender pay gap impacts all women but it's compounded when households are all female. Women earn a fifth less then men. That's a whole working days pay for people working 5 days a week. Worse still, women over 40 earn a whopping 25% less than men. It's not as if we can afford to shrug it off since women are over represented in low paying sectors. So will anything change after May 7th?...
The conservatives on fair pay
The Tory plan is pretty simple. The message is: 'get out and work for 30 hours a week and we'll help. If you don't you'll see some cuts to your money'.
- Anyone earning less than £12,500 a year won't pay income tax (but will still pay national insurance.
- A new law will mean those working 30 hours a week and earning the minimum wage will not pay income tax on earnings.
- The 40p tax rate will only apply to people earning £50k + per year.
- Anyone claiming benefits for a family will see the maximum they can claim reduced from £26,000 per year to £23,000 per year.
- However, working parents of 3-4 year olds get 30hrs of free childcare a week.
Now all we need to do is find a load of 30hr a week jobs, preferably paying £11,999 or £49,999 per year. Good luck. The manifesto doesn't give any firm ideas about closing the pay gap for women. However, disabled lesbians will be pleased to know that the focus we be on closing the employment gap between disabled people and non-disabled people.
Labour on fair pay
Finally some good news for singles! If get return to power they will end the Marriage Tax Allowance, yay! I've always found it strange that two wage households got the tax breaks. Surely it costs more to be single? However, Labour plan a raft of others measures on fair pay.
- Slashing the starting tax rate to £10p
- Raising the minimum wage to £8 by 2019
- Guaranteeing childcare between 8am and 18.30pm
- Using Government contracts to promote the living wage
- Outlawing zero hours contracts - (double yay!)
- Requiring large companies to publish details of their gender pay gap (Yippee!)
- People earning over £150k will get the tax hikes - (50p)
I've got a feeling that the gender pay gap is more prevalent in small rather than larger companies but it's a great start. Labour also plan to help with the costs of living by freezing rail rates and energy bills. All in all this plan is more complex but more flexible. The message is: however many hours you work, we'll make it pay.
Greens and Liberal Democrats both support policies aimed at closing the gender pay gap and raising the minimum wage. So, whichever combinations of political parties that get into power it looks like some improvement is enviable.
How will you vote?
Next: Lesbian Manifesto 2 - Housing policy