WBG Budget Representation 2021
Date Posted: Tuesday 12th January 2021
Each year, HM Treasury consult civil society ahead of the Spring Budget. In 2021, our submission focuses on immediate action needed to mitigate inequalities in lockdown and then, urgent structural reform needed to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Our economy is structured by gender so all economic and political events impact differently on women and men and have particular effects of particular groups of women and men. The pandemic and policy responses to it are no exception.
- The Chancellor needs to act immediately to prevent impacts that have been particularly severe on women in 2020 continuing into 2021. Urgently, the Chancellor should guarantee all parents the right to furlough, all workers the right to liveable sick pay and intervene in the social security system to avoid mass hardship by increasing Child Benefit, making permanent the £20 UC uplift, applying it to legacy benefits and suspending untenable restriction in the benefits system.
- The Chancellor should prioritise investment in social infrastructure in the recovery from coronavirus. WBG research finds this to be more cost effective in creating jobs and reducing gender inequality, raising more tax revenue and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than investment in construction.
- Physical infrastructure will also be needed to deliver a greener, fairer economy including investment in social housing, renewable energy and green public transport.
- The child and adult social care sectors, social security system and services supporting victims/survivors of violence against women and girls (VAWG) are in desperate need of such investment, staff training and reform.
- Financing local government more and more through locally raised taxes and precepts is counter to the Government’s commitment to levelling up. It reinforces cycles of disadvantage. The recovery from coronavirus must include refunding local government from central government.
- While interest rates are low, borrowing is the best way to pay for these measures, but the Government should start now reforming the tax system to ensure that those with greater income and wealth contribute a larger share of it than those with less. This should include equalising tax on capital gains with that on income from earnings, reversing cuts to corporation tax, a reformed system of local taxation, fairer taxes on wealth and reinstating independent taxation by abolishing the married tax allowance and the high-income child benefit tax charge.
- Efforts should be made to reorient the way we measure the success of the economy to prioritise wellbeing rather than the pursuit of GDP growth which is unsustainable and fails to capture what genuinely matters to people, especially women.
- HM Treasury has a responsibility to undertake and publish a comprehensive and meaningful equality impact assessment of the Budget. Publication should go beyond highlighting individual policies that may benefit groups with protected characteristics to assess the cumulative impact of policies over a life course. It should do this to show how equality impact assessment has in practice shaped its policy making at all stages.