UK Budget Assessments
WBG’s Response to Pre-Budget Report 2001
Date Posted: Sunday 18th November 2001
1.1 The Women’s Budget Group welcomes the Pre-Budget Report’s statement of Government objectives: ‘To build Britain’s economic strength and create a fairer society’ through ‘maintaining economic stability and raising productivity and employment, securing the resources needed to tackle child and pensioner poverty and delivering high quality public services and rising living standards for all’.
1.2 We are pleased with the re-orientation and expansion in public expenditure set out in the PBR.
1.3 However, public expenditure still falls well short of public needs. We understand the importance of a sound fiscal policy framework that focuses on the level of spending around the economic cycle. However the logic of this framework suggests that now is the time for the government to reap the benefits of its more sophisticated approach to managing the economy by spending more on key services and on support for marginalised groups.
1.4 These are important issues for women. Not only do women benefit from spending on health, education and public transport, they are also the ones whose unpaid work increases when public services are inadequate. It is women, as unpaid carers, who most feel the costs of under-investment in public services.
1.5 Over-represented among the poor, women also benefit most from the financial support offered to groups such as pensioners and lone parents. We are of the belief that spending on anti-poverty measures, where the current Government has had a measurable and very welcome impact on women’s poverty, should continue to grow. It is important, especially in times of fiscal restraint, that the spending in this area is not seen as taking away from other areas: as research has long told us, anti-poverty measures are a very effective way of improving health and educational outcomes.