News News & press releases Fawcett release on the Autumn Statement 2016 23 NOVEMBER 2016 Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society said: “The Autumn Statement 2016 is disappointing and represents a missed opportunity for women and for the economy. “The Chancellor could and should have included investment in our childcare and social care infrastructure in his infrastructure spending plans. This would help to grow the economy, support low paid workers and families struggling to cope with balancing work and care. Childcare and social care are as important and as fundamental to our ability to work as roads and rail. “The reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63% is welcome but not enough for those living on the lowest incomes. Similarly the increase in the National Living Wage benefits women disproportionately as most of the lowest earners are women. But these are small gains when what we needed were more ambitious strides.” “The Chancellor is spending £23 billion on closing the productivity gap. But if we improve gender equality in the workplace we would make productivity gains of £150 billion by 2025.” “£3 million from the tampon tax is nowhere near enough for women’s services and women shouldn’t be paying for their own safety.” READ MORE Fawcett’s Women's Manifesto called for: Women to be represented at every level and stage of Brexit negotiations. An increase in the national living wage to bring it up to the level of the real living wage. An extended, dedicated, well paid period of leave for fathers A requirement for large companies who have to report their gender pay gaps to have an action plan in place, and penalties for those who do not comply. A long-term, national, and sustainable funding strategy for specialist women-only services including domestic violence refuges, in order to meet our Istanbul Convention obligations. A National Care Service, giving social care parity with the NHS, and investing in social care infrastructure with a professionalised care workforce. The Manifesto also addresses equal representation; defending women’s rights post-Brexit; ending violence against women and girls, and ensuring women are not hardest hit by any economic downturn or spending cuts. Download Fawcett's Women's Manifesto here.