Incomes and Poverty

Background: Women in Coventry (as in the rest of the country) are poorer than men[i] and receive a higher proportion of their income from benefits.[ii] 33,595 households in Coventry receive tax credits[iii]. 35,710 receive out of work benefits.[iv]

The Cuts and Changes: The changes to the tax and benefit system that will impact on women include

  • Cuts to benefits to pregnant women and families with new babies, freezing of child benefit, cuts to childcare tax credit and cuts to those eligible for tax credits
  • Lone parents will be required to seek work once their youngest child is five
  • Disabled people are being moved from Incapacity Benefit to Employment Support Allowance and will have to be re-assessed.
  • Disability Living Allowance is being cut by 20%
  • Someone caring for a person who loses disability living allowance will also lose carers allowance
  • Sanctions for people the Job Centre believes are not seeking work will become more severe
  • There has been an increase in the rate of Child Tax Credit
  • There has been an increase in the personal tax allowance

 The Impact:. Although the increase in Child Tax Credit and the personal tax allowance will benefit many women, taken together the benefit and tax changes in the 2010 budget will cost women in Coventry £29,631,532[v]. The cost to men will be less than half of this.[vi] This will further increase inequality between women and men in Coventry. For some women they could lead to a significant loss of income, pushing those women into poverty and raising significant human rights concerns.

Lone parents, disabled women, carers and BME women are likely to be particularly badly hit by the changes.

Read full Incomes and Poverty chapter in Unravelling Equality here

[i] Women and Children’s Poverty: Making the Links, WBG, 2005

[ii] Nearly a third (30% of women) but only 15% of men rely on state support for at least 75% of their income. Who Benefits? A gender an analysis of the UK benefits and tax credits system, Fawcett Society, 2005

[iv] Office for National Statistics, 2009. Labour market profile Coventry [online] available at ( [Accessed 8th April 2011]

[v] Based on an average national cost for women across the UK of £229.88 (see  and 128,900 women over 16 in Coventry (data from Coventry City Council,  source ONS 2009)

[vi] Based on a national cost to women of £5.76 billion and to men of £2.295 billion