Spring Budget 2024: Taxation and Gender

Date Posted: Monday 4th March 2024

A pre-budget briefing from the Women's Budget Group

BudgetFiscal PolicyTaxation

“The tax system needs substantial reform to make it more progressive, more inclusive and to challenge the view of tax as a burden.​”

Women, being more likely to take up caring roles, are particularly vulnerable to rises in the cost of living and cuts in state spending on public services and social security. Women are also less likely than men to be among those whose income and wealth have increased disproportionately over the last few years.

This makes it particularly vital for women to have a fair taxation system which ensures that those who can afford to, contribute to fund our public services and social infrastructure.

This tax briefing will show how the tax system could be changed so that the very wealthy, whose incomes and wealth have increased in the past few years, make a proportionate tax contribution that would enable public services to be revitalised and cost of living pressures mitigated.

Key points:

  • Taxation is vital for funding essential social infrastructure like the NHS, education, and social security.
  • Women, who often bear the brunt of unpaid caregiving, rely heavily on public services; cuts disproportionately harm them.
  • Wealth inequality, surpassing income disparity, benefits men more due to their greater wealth, exacerbating gender gaps.
  • 73% of Britons support taxing wealth over £5m, indicating public appetite for progressive wealth taxation.
  • All forms of income and capital gains should be taxed equitably, aligning with earnings taxation.
  • Fairer National Insurance Contributions require abolishing the Upper Earnings Limit and extending NI to all income sources for those above State Pension age.
  • Taxing excess profits of oil and gas firms near 100% and closing energy profit loopholes can help fund public needs and mitigate environmental harm.
  • Overhaul of the current tax system, including inheritance, wealth, capital gains, property, earnings, and profits, is imperative to counter widening gender disparities and ensure fairness and effectiveness in funding public services.

It’s important to note, that such reform should be underpinned by gender and distributional analysis, examining not only taxation’s incidence on men and women (and other groups), but also the total revenue raised, given how vital enabling public spending is to women and those on lower incomes.