Following the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s highly anticipated Spring Budget announcement, thousands of women are left wondering, what about us?
In yesterday’s (Wednesday 3rd March) Spring announcement, we heard the details of a raft of measures based around a three-step programme to protect jobs and livelihoods, to fix public finances and to build the future of our economy. He said: “An important moment is upon us. A moment of challenge and of change. Of difficulties, yes, but of possibilities too. This is a Budget that meets that moment.”
Unfortunately, there was little sign of any change as far as women and BAME communities are concerned.
“Why would you possibly want to design a budget that pretty much ignores 52% of the population? I would like to ask those policy makers and ministers, are they thinking about their daughters? Are they thinking about what the future will hold for the current generation and the next generation of young women coming up?”
Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation told the BBC the budget has not only fallen short of addressing systematic inequality for women and BAME groups, but also completely disregarded them from any source of hope for a sound financial and fair future.
“Women, female entrepreneurs and BAME communities have been treated with utter contempt by a government which consistently preaches its connection with everyday people yet fails to recognise the value of those stranded at the bottom of the economic ladder. While the continued furlough scheme means guaranteed income until September, it is not enough. The £20 a week Universal Credit uplift is not enough. You cannot protect livelihoods if there aren’t any left to protect.
“Inaccessible and unaffordable childcare will continue to prevent thousands of women from realising their potential, instead having to resort to low paid jobs to make ends meet. To ensure the 2030 World Cup bid is prioritised but fail to address the critical state of the care sector is utterly deplorable.
“I think dismayed is the word. Dismayed that the government has wasted yet another valuable opportunity to make real change, change that could benefit generations. Dismayed that thousands of women will be left wondering, what about us?
“We only have to look at our American counterparts to realise that women must be made a priority if positive economic change is to come to fruition. The Biden Harris administration has pledged upwards of $500bn towards childcare, the education and care workforce and the promotion of female and BAME entrepreneurs. It’s having the courage to do things differently and acknowledging that we must all be offered an equal role in its success.
“The economic recovery, future economic growth and improved productivity can’t be achieved without women – so failing to recognise this is a political and policy failure.”
The Women’s Organisation published its key recommendations ahead of the Spring Budget and offered a 6 step programme to ensure women and BAME groups were given an equal and fair opportunity to thrive. Read more here.