Exploring the economic impact of Brexit on women
Date Posted: Thursday 1st March 2018
Our 2018 report with Fawcett Society and the #FaceHerFuture campaign reveals damaging economic impact of Brexit on women.
The first independent report looking at the economic impact of Brexit on women has today been published by the Women’s Budget Group and the Fawcett Society. The report shows the economic impact of Brexit will hit women hard, leading to lost jobs, cuts to services and a squeeze on family budgets.
Economists predict UK GDP will be between 1.5% and 3.5% lower if we stay in the Single Market and Customs Union and up to 9.5% lower as a result of a no-deal ‘hard Brexit. This new report examines for the first time what this fall in GDP will mean for women. It warns that:
- Sectors such as clothing and textiles which have a majority female workforce are particularly vulnerable to increased trade barriers.
- Despite promises of additional money for the NHS post-Brexit, a downturn in GDP is likely to result in further cuts to government spending on services. Women, who are more likely to work in the public sector and more likely to need public services, will be the worst affected.
- Increased tariffs and a fall in the value of the pound are likely to lead to increased food prices, which will hit the poorest families hardest. Women are more likely to be poor and more likely to manage budgets in poor households.
- A post-Brexit economic crisis could lead to the rolling back of workplace rights, including parental leave, equal treatment and rights for part time workers on which women rely in the name of increased ‘flexibility’ and ‘competitiveness’.
The report also warns that a poor deal with the EU would put the UK in a weaker position to resist pressure from other countries for trade deals that would damage women’s rights at work, adversely impact them as consumers or undermining the quality of public services including:
- Provisions in trade deals that give oversees companies the power to sue the UK government if it took action that would damage the profitability of those companies such as increasing the National Living Wage or bringing services that have been privatised back in house.
- Opening up of the NHS and other public services to overseas competition.
- Removal of consumer rights preventing the import of chlorine washed chicken or hormone fed beef.