16 MARCH 2016

“The wrong kind of infrastructure” – where is the investment in infrastructure for care?

The Northern Powerhouse – “risks becoming a gentlemen’s club”

Commenting on the Budget today, Sam Smethers Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society said:

“The Chancellor says he has prioritised investment in infrastructure, but it’s the wrong kind of infrastructure for families. Where is the investment in infrastructure for care that we need?

“Research shows that investing in childcare would help to close the gender pay gap by 3.4% and we know progress has stalled [1].

Commenting on labour market measures:

“Jobs growth is welcome but our economy is disproportionately dependent on low paid part-time work and insecure employment.  75% of part-time workers are women.

“Women are disproportionately concentrated in small and micro businesses. Measures to support small businesses will help those women.

“Fawcett welcomes the new National Living Wage. 61% of beneficiaries are women.  But this indicates just how low paid women are in the first place.”

“Raising the tax free personal allowance will benefit low income women lifted out of paying tax but it disproportionately benefits higher earners and doesn’t help those who already earn less than the threshold.”

On devolution:

“We are devolving power from women to men. The Northern Powerhouse risks becoming a gentlemen’s club. Worryingly there appears to be no consideration of the need for gender balance and diversity in decision making yet we are allocating £13 billion of investment spending to the Northern Powerhouse.

“Just three of the 17 elected Mayors are women, none of the chairs of the five established combined authorities in the Northern Powerhouse are women.  Only one of the shadow authority chairs is a woman.”

“Unless there is a conscious attempt to address this we will be going backwards on women’s representation and that is worrying.”

[1] http://wbg.org.uk/new-wbg-study-finds-that-71-of-cost-of-universal-free-childcare-system-can-be-recouped/