Some mums 'better off jobless' after tax changes

More than one in four unemployed women have been out of work for longer than a year - and some are better off staying at home because of cuts to childcare tax credits, a new report says today.

A total of 260,000 women in the UK - 87,000 of whom live in Scotland - have been jobless for more than 12 months despite total unemployment falling slightly, an analysis by the think-tank IPPR found.

The report said women's position in the labour market was becoming increasingly insecure, accounting for more than 40 per cent of redundancies in recent months.

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Dalia Ben-Galim, IPPR's associate director, said: "During the recession, unemployment among men increased much more than among women, but our analysis of the latest figures show that this experience is now being reversed, in large part because of the government's public spending cuts.

"Behind the headline unemployment figures, more people are experiencing long spells out of work and long-term unemployment is rising steeply.

"Women are increasingly joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed and the prospects for female employment are likely to remain gloomy for some time to come.

"Cuts to childcare tax credits mean that for some women, work no longer pays and they are better off staying at home."

IPPR said the UK employment rate lagged behind other European countries, where women were better represented in the labour market, partly due to better childcare provision.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Women who are looking for a job should visit their local Jobcentre, where they will be given advice and be able to take advantage of the 10,000 jobs we take every working day."