UK Budget Assessments
WBG Response to HM Treasury Budget 2003
Date Posted: Tuesday 18th March 2003
- The UK has a larger gender productivity gap than many comparator countries. The Chancellor should develop analysis and policy instruments to monitor and tackle the gender productivity gap.
- Work place training schemes should be extended to people who wish to return to work after a period of caring but need training to re-enter the labour market in quality jobs. This will contribute to narrowing the gender pay gap, increasing paid employment for lone parents and abolishing child poverty.
- Job centre staff should be able to use additional funds to tackle the particular barriers faced by all women, and especially those dealing with multiple discrimination, in finding paid employment.
- Consideration should be given to the particular difficulties faced by those with caring responsibilities, and the interests of those that they care for, when deciding whether to increase the conditionally of job seekers benefits.
- We welcome efforts to help lone parents into paid employment, but the Government must recognise that a substantial number of lone parents are not in a position to take up immediate employment.
- The current British pension system, state and private, is grossly inadequate for women and in need of a radical overhaul. Pensions must be restructured so as not to penalise women for their contribution of caring work. The system of caring credits in particular should be revamped to give adequate reward for women’s unpaid work.
- WBG welcomes the support offered to the main carer through the new system of tax credits but maintains that Child Benefit is the most effective form of spending to address child poverty as it also ‘follows the child’ via receipt by the main carer but has few of the problems of complexity or take-up. The money allocated to the Child Trust Fund would be better spent on increasing Child Benefit.
- We welcome the commitment to increasing transparency on the level of performance against PSA targets and recommend that in order to deliver transparency their performance should be measured using gender disaggregated statistics, even if gender is not named within the PSA. Lessons should be learnt from the HM Treasury and Women and Equality Unit Gender Analysis of Expenditure Pilot project.
- Whilst we understand that the Government wishes to give the voluntary pay audit approach a fair trial – we ask that it be monitored carefully and that serious consideration be given to more powerful methods of closing the gender pay gap.