2017 Pre-Budget Briefing: Social Security

Date Posted: Wednesday 1st November 2017

Our series of briefings on the gender impact of policy in 12 distinct areas ahead of the Autumn Budget 2017.

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You can read our full Pre-Budget Briefing on Social Security here.


Key points:

• Cuts to social security benefits affect women more than men because of their generally lower income, longer lives and greater caring responsibilities.

• 50% of the successive cuts since 2010 in the real value of social security benefits are due to lower indexation and freezes in benefits and tax credits. The total cumulative cut by 2020-21 is estimated to be worth about £37bn per year (as costed by the OBR, using CPI) and £59bn per year (when measured against RPI, as was done before June 2010).

• Drastic cuts to elements of tax credits and the introduction of Universal Credit, with a higher taper (now applied to net income rather than gross) will penalise many women as primary carers and secondary earners.

• Cuts to child-related payments for third and subsequent children are unfair to children and will disproportionately hit the incomes of BAME women, who tend to have larger families.

• Stricter eligibility conditions for lone parents and disabled people to claim benefits have made many disadvantaged people, and women in particular, more vulnerable, especially in the context of a precarious labour market, and have not been accompanied by equivalent resources for support to find suitable employment and services such as child care and social care.

• Cuts to housing benefits in the context of rising private rents have been severe and have led to difficulties for families in finding suitable accommodation near schools and the workplace, affecting lone parents in London in particular. This is reinforced by the introduction of a weekly benefit cap applied to many families in 2011, and its further reduction in 2015.

• WBG argues that instead of reducing the scope and generosity of the social security system, investing in public services and the social infrastructure of education, health and care will address many social needs, improve the quality of employment and increase fiscal revenue.


You can read our full Pre-Budget Briefing on Social Security here.