Submission to the Treasury Inquiry into Decarbonisation and Green Finance

Date Posted: Tuesday 13th October 2020

September 2020

The UK Women’s Budget Group has made a submission to the Treasury Select Committee inquiry into Decarbonisation and Green Finance. 

You can read more about the consultation here. 

You can read our submission here. 

Key points: 

  • The UK Women’s Budget Group believes that decarbonisation is necessary and must be done in a way that promotes equality and justice for all women and girls. This will require restructuring the economy so that less people work in carbon intensive sectors like construction and aviation and more people work in care. A care-led recovery from Coronavirus must be central to decarbonisation.
  • Decarbonisation must prioritise care as investment in social infrastructure as well as developing inclusive physical infrastructure like energy, housing and transport which takes account of gendered behaviour and is designed in consultation with users. It must focus on redistributing unpaid care as well as wealth through a series of reforms to employment and taxation practises.
  • There are many lessons to learn from the Covid-19 pandemic in order to achieve Net Zero: the pandemic has exposed the result of nearly a decade of public service cuts where social care, social security and local government have been hardest hit. Government intervention during the pandemic has proven that intervention and investment are possible and needed to stimulate the economy.
  • Significant Green Infrastructure will be required to decarbonise. All forms of infrastructure Green Infrastructure, including housing, transport and energy, need to be designed with gendered behaviour patterns in mind. Action must be taken to decrease occupational segregation in the jobs created and close gender employment gaps. This requires employing more women than men in traditionally male dominated sectors, ensuring that women’s unpaid labour is not increased and enabling women to participate equally in the transition to a green economy.
  • Investment in care as green social infrastructure is also key. It has the potential to create far more jobs than similar sized investment in physical infrastructure, such as construction. Unlike investment in construction, investment in care would narrow it while still providing more jobs for men. The jobs created by investment in care also produce far fewer Green House Gas emissions, so even though there are many more of them, the Green House Gas effect of spending on care is greener.
  • Paying for these investments is made easier by low-interest rates in the short term. In the long term, a fairer tax system which redistributes wealth effectively, including between women and men is essential.
  • Equality Impact Assessments of all projects will be necessary to decarbonise effectively and in a way that also prioritises wellbeing and substantive equality for all groups. They must take account of impacts on both care and unpaid work, and on the gender division of labour within them.