Rethinking austerity is overdue: it has hit women and ethnic minorities hardest

Date Posted: Tuesday 14th June 2016

14th June 2016

AusterityBrexitIntersectionalityPovertySocial CareSocial Infrastructure

View a PDF of the press release here.

Rethinking austerity is overdue. It is a burning injustice that has hit women and ethnic minorities hardest.

Runnymede Trust and the Women’s Budget Group have welcomed speculation on rethinking austerity. Previous economic analysis by the two organisations have found that austerity has hit the poorest women and ethnic minorities hardest of all.

Dr Omar Khan, director of the Runnymede Trust, said:

“The disproportionate impact of austerity on Britain’s ethnic minorities and people on lower incomes is a burning injustice that is incompatible with a fair society.

“Economic analysis of all budgets and autumn statements since 2010, which we carried out alongside the Women’s Budget Group, show that ethnic minority women in the poorest third of society are the hardest hit of all. They will be out of pocket to the tune of £2,000 per year by 2020.

“We welcome talk of rethinking austerity. Such a move is well overdue. We can only hope that this heralds a real change in direction and not merely a repackaging of existing tax and benefit decisions. We will be assessing the next budget very carefully for its impact on women and ethnic minorities.”

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Co-Director of UK Women’s Budget Group, said:

“Rethinking austerity is long overdue. Women, and BME women in particular, have borne the brunt of seven years of cuts to public services and social security. These cuts have had a devastating impact on individuals and communities across the country, have increased inequality and have undermined the social infrastructure on which the economy depends.”

Our analysis has found that:

  • ·      Women are hit harder than men across all incomes groups, with BAME women particularly hard hit. Asian women in poorest third of households will be £2,247 worse off by 2020, almost twice the loss faced by white men in the poorest third of households (£1,159).
  • ·      White men in the richest third of households, by contrast, lose only £410. Black and Asian lone mothers stand to lose £3,996 and £4,214, respectively, from the changes, about 15 and 17% of their net income.
  • ·      Tax and benefit policies of this government are more regressive than those of the Coalition government, with men in the richest 50% of households actually gaining from tax and benefit changes since July 2015. Men in the 10% richest households are £564 better off.

For more information: Outcry over NICs hides the biggest losers of government tax and benefit policy

View a PDF of the press release here.