Chancellor George Osborne this week announced government spending plans for 2015-16. Plans included:
- A 10 per cent cut to the Department for Communities and Local Government budget; this means councils - already struggling with reduced budgets - will likely cut more of their services. Those that are not ring fenced will be worse affected this includes Sure Start Childrens Centres and support services for victims of sexual and domestic violence;
- A further 144 000 public sector job losses women make up the bulk of the public sector workforce so are disproportionately affected by cuts to this sector; more job losses will likely increase the already 25 year high in womens unemployment;
- A new cap on welfare spending - this will necessarily hit women harder as welfare payments typically make up around fifth - so 20 per cent - of average womens incomes, as opposed to a tenth of mens;
- New investment in infrastructure projects while this is welcome, we are concerned the government is focussing largely on those industries where men dominate the workforce; more must be done to support women into these fields. Our research has shown that of the new jobs created in the private sector in recent years, 2 in 3 of them have gone to men - despite the record number of women out of work.