The Women’s Equality Party welcomes the reduction in Universal Credit taper and the rise in national living wage announced in this Autumn Financial Statement, whilst noting that both need to go further to lower barriers for women’s full participation in the economy.
A rise in tax-free personal allowance is welcome news for some low earners, but there is very little in this statement for the lowest earners in our society, 65% of whom are women. Similarly, the rise in the 40p tax threshold disproportionately benefits the highest earners - the majority (72%) of whom are men.
Despite concrete evidence that investing in care delivers more jobs (including derived jobs) and bigger economic benefits than the same investment in construction, the government has, again, opted for creating jobs for men while stripping working and stay at home women of their livelihoods. By forcing women into financial dependency the government further marginalises women and puts them at an increased risk of violence and abuse.
WE acknowledge that maintaining a competitive tax rate is important to attract businesses, but businesses also need an infrastructure than works. The current infrastructure of the UK does not work for women or for families.
WE call on Theresa May and Philip Hammond to commit to building an economy that works for people of all genders.
WE call on the government to:
- expand their definition of infrastructure to ensure investment in health and social care;
- fulfill their commitment to close the gender pay gap by ensuring companies publish data on pay broken down by gender, ethnicity, age and disability status when pay transparency measures come into play in 2017;
- invest in childcare to boost the economy and allow women to fully participate in working life; and
- invest in non-transferable parental leave so that parents can share the joys and responsibilities of parenthood and businesses can get access to a more diverse workforce.