“Today’s announcement offers nothing for women striving and working hard to take care of children, disabled and frail elderly relatives. The Chancellor spoke of investment in infrastructure, but failed to mention investment in social infrastructure, such as education and healthcare, which underpins women’s paid and unpaid participation in the economy.
Some of the measures announced today will have a disproportionate adverse impact on women’s income. For instance, ending national pay bargaining for teachers will have a greater impact on women who make up the majority of the teaching workforce. Furthermore, the below inflation uprating of benefits is particularly unfair to women because benefits make up a bigger proportion of women’s income than men’s.
The Chancellor emphasised measures which are supposed to benefit low and middle income households – such as the raising of income tax threshold and cancellation of increase in fuel duty – but these will not benefit women to the same extent as men. Yet again the majority of people who gain from raising the personal income tax allowance will be men. More than 40% of women will gain nothing. Men will also gain more than women from the cancellation of the increase in fuel duty as men drive more than women.
Underlying these unequal and adverse effects on women is the continued failure of the Treasury to value women’s unpaid contribution to the economy through care. Any credible plan for recovery must include investment in social infrastructure such as housing, social care, and childcare.”
Professor Sue Himmelweit is available for further comment on 0207 272 8485. The Women’s Budget Group is a network of over 200 academics and activists. For more information, please visit their website or contact Amy Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org), WBG Coordinator.