2019 WBG Briefing: Tax and Gender

Date Posted: Thursday 31st October 2019

October 2019


View and download our full briefing here. 

Key points

  • Tax is the necessary financial contribution that individuals and companies make to a well-functioning society. Women tend to benefit particularly from the public spending that tax can be used to finance.
  • At the same time as austerity measures are having particularly harsh effects on women, tax cuts since 2010 disproportionately benefitting men will cost the Treasury £47bn per annum by 2021-22.
  • 63% of the benefit of the increase in the Personal Allowance and Higher Rate Threshold in the 2018 budget has gone to men.
  • The Women’s Budget Group believes that the whole income tax system should be reformed to make it more progressive, more inclusive and reduce the use of income tax allowances, which are unfair to those earning below the tax threshold and encourage tax avoidance and a view of income tax as a burden.
  • The fuel tax escalator should be implemented ending the pattern of annual freezes; not only is fuel tax duty a useful source of revenue, but it is vital that fossil fuel use be reduced to help meet climate change targets.
  • Corporation tax should be set at average international levels and the UK should lead efforts to institute the international coordination of tax rates.
  • Inheritance tax should be reformed and used more forcefully to reduce wealth inequalities and promote social mobility. Progressive taxation of receipts rather than estates should be pursued.
  • Cuts to central government funding of Local Authorities should be reversed as leading to inadequate public services. They are also unfair in that poorer LAs can raise less money from business rates and council tax but have greater demand for public services. Women, being more reliant on those services, stand to lose most from these changes.
  • Tax avoidance, both through tax havens and in the UK, should be tackled more effectively, including through employing more and better qualified staff at HMRC.

View and download our full briefing here.