UK Budget Assessments
Response to Pre-Budget Report 2000
Date Posted: Wednesday 8th November 2000
The Women’s Budget Group (WBG) welcomes the government’s stated commitment to:
• a stable macro economic framework, the fruits from which all people can share (PBR: 1.1)
• reducing social divisions such as those such as those sustained by class and gender inequalities (PBR: 1.18)
• creating conditions for social and economic improvements that are compatible with respect for a sustainable environment (PBR: 1.19)
These are all important human goals. However, the government needs to back up these commitments with financial resources and economic policies that are adequate to the task. In some key areas of this year’s Pre Budget Report, we feel this has not always been followed through. We believe that the systematic application of a gender analysis would be of significant value in helping the government turn the PBR’s goals into reality.
KEY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
Use the individual as the unit of policy analysis in assessments for programs such as Employment Tax Credits and State Pension benefits. This would lead to greater individual economic independence and security in the long term.
Extend entitlements of the New Deal to all not currently in employment. This would capture women not currently in employment because of caring responsibilities.
Provide funding for longer maternity leave, paid at a higher statutory rate from the first day of employment. Provide paid parental leave at income replacement level. This would help ensure work life balance for families and increase the take-up of parental leave among men.
Increase training opportunities for low-wage and first-time employees and provide more child care facilities. These preconditions make employment more meaningful and possible for many returners and entry-level employees.
Develop a more comprehensive National Child Care Strategy that is not restricted to women already in employment. The lack of adequate, affordable childcare is a key determinant in preventing women’s long-term participation in employment. The right of the child to receive childcare should not depend on low-income parents’ ability to pay.