May Monitor: How will Theresa May’s Government live up to her early promises?
Date Posted: Tuesday 13th September 2016
How will Theresa May’s Government live up to her early promises?
Theresa May became Prime Minister promising ‘a country that works for everyone’. She committed to fight the ‘burning injustice of inequality’, to support those who are ‘just managing’ but find life hard and to prioritise ‘ordinary working class families’ over the wealthy few.
How will the actions of her Government live up to these early promises?
Today the Women’s Budget Group launches the #MayMonitor – an on-going project to track the actions of May’s Government and highlight whether they will help meet these promises. This briefing sets out the Women’s Budget Group’s suggestions for how the Government can turn Theresa May’s commitments into reality.
A country that works for everyone
This includes: a commitment to fight against a series of injustices including lower life expectancy for people living in poverty, institutional racism in the criminal justice system, lower educational outcomes for working class boys, the gap in outcomes between state and private school pupils, the gender pay gap and the lack of support for people with mental health problems.[i]
The May Government has already announced an ‘inequality audit’ to tackle inequalities in public service outcomes. All Government departments are being required to collect and publish outcomes data on key issues such as health, education and employment broken down by ethnicity, gender, income and location. The data will be published annually in order to track improvements and hold public services to account.
The Inequality Audit could help the Government meet its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty to have ‘due regard’ to equality in all areas of its work. This is a welcome change of direction from the previous Government, which often described the collection of equality data and action to monitor the equality impact of policies and practices under the PSED as ‘red tape’. The recognition of social class as a significant form of inequality is also welcomed.
The Audit will require a significant transformation in the approach of the Treasury, which has repeatedly failed to publish an equality impact assessment of the Budget or Pre Budget report or examine the impact of Budget announcements on household incomes or living standards. More fundamentally it is difficult to see how the May Government can tackle inequality while continuing with the austerity policies of the previous leadership (see section on the economy below). As such, the Women’s Budget Group calls for an urgent reassessment of fiscal policy.
An economy that works for everyone
Getting tough on corporate irresponsibility
The government I lead will be driven not by the interest of the privileged few, but by yours
The WBG recommends:
- Reverse cuts to public services and social security that have had particularly adverse impacts on women
- Reform plans for Universal Credit
- Invest in social infrastructure
- Improve the terms and conditions of work for the paid work force who staff the social infrastructure
- Increase investment in social housing and in insulating homes
- Strengthen worker’s rights throughout the economy
- Ensure access to affordable care
- Improve support for people – currently mainly women – who provide unpaid care in families and communities
- Create a social security system that aims at fairer sharing of caring and the costs of caring- both between women and men and between families and the wider community; and provides adequate independent income for all over the life course
Join the campaign – tell us about your assessment @WomensBudgetGrp #MayMonitor
[i] Promises are extracted from Theresa May’s speech in Birmingham on 11 July 2016 to formally launch her leadership campaign and her speech outside Downing Street on 13 July 2016 on becoming Prime Minister.