Triple Whammy: the impact of local government cuts on women

Date Posted: Thursday 7th March 2019

Slashed spending on women’s refuges, a crisis in social care, cuts to youth and children’s services:
New report shows triple whammy for women as Govt funding for local councils cut in half 

Cuts to funding for local government have created a crisis, which has hit women hardest according to a new report launched by the Women’s Budget Group today.

The report, Triple whammy – the impact of local government cuts on Women, written for WBG by Heather Wakefield, former Head of Local Government at Unison concludes that:

  • Central government funding fell by nearly 50% between 2010/11 and 2017/18 and will fall by over 56% by 2019/20.
  • Between 2010 and 2020 £16 billion will have been cut from local council’s budgets and the annual funding gap is set to grow to £7.8 billion by 2025
  • These cuts have had a devastating impact on local services. Spending on adult social care fell between 2010/11 and 2016/17, despite an increase of over 14% in the number of people aged over 65 in need of it. There are 1.86 million people with unmet care needs – the majority of whom are women.
  • Spending on other services fell by a third.
  • More than 75% of England’s local authorities slashed their spending on domestic violence refuges by nearly a quarter (24%) – between 2010 and 2017

The Women’s Budget Group is calling on the Government to take urgent action in the 2019 spending review to address the crisis in local government funding.

Heather Wakefield, author of the report said:

The network of local government services which are vital to women’s lives as workers, mothers, carers and local citizens has been torn apart by central government cuts to council funding since 2010. Women’s refuges, public  transport, street lighting , libraries, adult education, social care, youth services and community centres have all been affected, leaving women less safe, unable to access learning and leisure facilities and increasingly having to fill the gaps in care provision. Austerity is shrinking women’s lives. To end it, the Government must recognise the obvious importance of local services and fund them at a sustainable level.

WBG Director Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson said:

Cuts to funding for local government have led to a crisis in public services. The number of people with unmet care needs is growing, children’s services can’t meet demand, domestic violence refuges are having to turn away women when they need help most. In the last year there have been two reports from UN experts highlighting the devastating impact austerity is having on women’s human rights. The Government promised that the next spending review would mark the end of austerity. It needs to deliver on that promise and restore local government funding.

The report will be launched at a WBG meeting:

Date: Thursday 7 March 2019
Time: 6.00 – 7.30 pm
Venue: Diskus Suite, Unite the Union, Unite House, 128 Theobald’s Road, Holborn, London WC1X 8TN

To book a place please contact

Media enquiries:

Thaira Mhearban: / 07736 658951
Communications Officer, Women’s Budget Group

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson: / 07957 338582
Director, Women’s Budget Group

About Women’s Budget Group

The Women’s Budget Group (WBG) is an independent network of leading academic researchers, policy experts and campaigners.
Our vision is of a caring economy that promotes equality between women and men.