UK Budget Assessments
Women’s Budget Group full response to the Spring Budget 2023
Date Posted: Tuesday 21st March 2023
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt presented a budget to get people “back to work”. With incentives on one hand, and sanctions on the other, we can expect an unfair result: low-income individuals (mostly women) will experience tighter work eligibility criteria and sanctions, while rich individuals (mostly men) will benefit from tax relief on their pension wealth in order to entice them into retiring later.
New funding for early education and childcare is good news, as well as the extension to younger children. However, what the Government offered will not be enough to ensure a high-quality and well-functioning system. Strong and properly funded public services, as part of our social infrastructure, are the cornerstone of a healthy, well-educated and well-cared for population and a strong economy that promotes well-being and gender equality.
Levels of economic inactivity due to long-term sickness have increased since January 2020 and represent one of the most important economic challenges for the UK right now. But surprisingly, there was no new funding for the NHS or social care to tackle this. In addition, most people are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and the greatest fall in living standards on record. A truly transformative Budget would have put funding for public services at its core. This would have had a stronger impact on the economy than relying on the carrot and stick approach to get people “back to work” that the Chancellor chose.