Women 'hit hardest by Tory plans'
Women will be hardest hit by George Osborne's austerity measures if the Conservatives win next May's general election, Labour has warned.
Analysis by the independent House of Commons Library, commissioned by the Opposition, showed that freezing benefits and tax credits will disproportionately affect women.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the figures showed women will "bear the brunt" of the Tory plans to tackle the deficit.
The Chancellor used his Conservative Party Conference speech to set out plans to slash £3.2 billion off the welfare bill by freezing a raft of working-age benefits for two years if his party wins the 2015 election.
The freeze will hit an estimated 10 million households to the tune of an average £320 a year, as inflation erodes the value of welfare payments including jobseeker's allowance, child benefit, income support and tax credits.
Labour said the House of Commons Library analysis showed 75% of the overall savings will come from women.
Some 80% of the savings from freezing tax credits will come from women, the analysis showed.
Mr Balls said: " These new figures show how, once again, women will bear the brunt of David Cameron and George Osborne's choices. This follows four years of Budgets which have taken six times more from women than men - even though women earn less than men.
"Of course we need to make savings to get the deficit down. But the Tories have chosen to hit millions of working families on modest incomes again, while keeping their huge tax cut for millionaires.
"Working people are already worse off under this government. If the Tories win next year three million working people face being made worse off because their tax credits will be cut again. This strivers' tax will cost a one earner family with two children earning £25,000 almost £500 a year.
"Labour will balance the books as soon as possible in the next Parliament, but we will do so in a fairer way. While the Tories target working people our tough but balanced approach will start by reversing the £3 billion a year Tory tax cut for the top one per cent of earners.
"And our economic plan will make work pay by raising the minimum wage, introducing a lower 10p starting rate of tax and expanding free childcare for working parents of three and four-year-olds to 25 hours a week."
Employment Minister Esther McVey insisted the Government had "done a considerable amount to help women in the workplace".
She told Sky News: "We have got a record rate of women into work, record numbers of women into work.
"We have also seen the gender pay gap fall to the smallest it has ever been."
Of the three million people lifted out of income tax by the rise in the personal allowance "most of them are women", she added, while extra childcare and free school meals would also support female voters.
"Actually this Government has done a considerable amount to help women in the workplace and I'm very proud of that record," she said.