Cuts burden: Women 73%|Men 27%

Commons research shows the Chancellor's changes to tax and pay will hit women almost three times as

New research by the independent House of Commons Library shows that the measures outlined in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement will be paid for almost three times more by women than by men. On Tuesday, George Osborne laid out plans to raise £2.37 billion though tax credit cuts and caps on public sector pay -- but new figures reveal that 73 per cent (£1.73 billion) of the money will come from women, and just 27 per cent (£638 million) from men.

The report, commissioned by the Labour party, reveals that the Chancellor's two-year 1 per cent cap on public sector pay rises will affect 4.6 million women and 2.6 million men, meanwhile changes to child tax credits will take £908m from women (89 per cent), whilst men will lose £112m.

On release of the findings, Labour leader Ed Miliband called this latest round of cuts by the Coalition government "the biggest attack on women in a generation."

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: "The Government is clearly shockingly out of touch with women's lives," and noted that Tuesday's round of austerity measures announced by Osborne are not the first with a gender bias: "If you look at all the changes to direct tax, benefits, pay and pensions announced by the Chancellor since the General Election, of the £18.9 billion that the Government is raising each year, £13.2 billion is coming from women and £5.7 billion from men. Women are being hit twice as hard."

The NS has long noted the Coalition's problems with women: a recent leading article considered David Cameron's treatment of issues "from public-service reform to benefits to rape," and statistics in both the long- and short-term have shown support by women for the Conservative party to be in steep decline.

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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PMQs review: Theresa May shows how her confidence has grown

After her Brexit speech, the PM declared of Jeremy Corbyn: "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue". 

The woman derided as “Theresa Maybe” believes she has neutralised that charge. Following her Brexit speech, Theresa May cut a far more confident figure at today's PMQs. Jeremy Corbyn inevitably devoted all six of his questions to Europe but failed to land a definitive blow.

He began by denouncing May for “sidelining parliament” at the very moment the UK was supposedly reclaiming sovereignty (though he yesterday praised her for guaranteeing MPs would get a vote). “It’s not so much the Iron Lady as the irony lady,” he quipped. But May, who has sometimes faltered against Corbyn, had a ready retort. The Labour leader, she noted, had denounced the government for planning to leave the single market while simultaneously seeking “access” to it. Yet “access”, she went on, was precisely what Corbyn had demanded (seemingly having confused it with full membership). "I've got a plan - he doesn't have a clue,” she declared.

When Corbyn recalled May’s economic warnings during the referendum (“Does she now disagree with herself?”), the PM was able to reply: “I said if we voted to leave the EU the sky would not fall in and look at what has happened to our economic situation since we voted to leave the EU”.

Corbyn’s subsequent question on whether May would pay for single market access was less wounding than it might have been because she has consistently refused to rule out budget contributions (though yesterday emphasised that the days of “vast” payments were over).

When the Labour leader ended by rightly hailing the contribution immigrants made to public services (“The real pressure on public services comes from a government that slashed billions”), May took full opportunity of the chance to have the last word, launching a full-frontal attack on his leadership and a defence of hers. “There is indeed a difference - when I look at the issue of Brexit or any other issues like the NHS or social care, I consider the issue, I set out my plan and I stick to it. It's called leadership, he should try it some time.”

For May, life will soon get harder. Once Article 50 is triggered, it is the EU 27, not the UK, that will take back control (the withdrawal agreement must be approved by at least 72 per cent of member states). With MPs now guaranteed a vote on the final outcome, parliament will also reassert itself. But for now, May can reflect with satisfaction on her strengthened position.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.