feminist economics

The transferable tax allowance for married couples: another blow for women?

My article on behalf of the Women’s Budget Group for Society Central. First published here. Photo – hands with wedding rings by Greg Kendall-Ball shared under a creative commons license. ——————————————————————————————— On announcing the Transferable Tax Allowance, David Cameron said: “I believe in marriage, I believe marriage… Read More »The transferable tax allowance for married couples: another blow for women?

Chancellor’s spending review is bad news for women

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This post was first published by the F-Word a contemporary UK feminist site which I was delighted to blog for.


Though the Chancellor tried to make good headlines with his recent spending review announcement, it is clear that once again the budget has not been gender-proofed. Polly Trenow discusses the implications for women

On 26 June, George Osborne announced his spending review setting out the cuts and savings to be made between 2015 and 2016. With the general election due in 2015, there were few surprises in store: more cuts, more austerity and a couple of crowd-pleasers to keep the voting public on his side.

And like every good Treasury speech, Osborne ensured the bad news was sandwiched between his good news headlines: the NHS budget will be safe from cuts in that financial year and overseas development spending will remain at 0.7% of GDP. The Chancellor also told us that for every public sector job that has been lost, three private sector jobs have been created and announced a huge investment in physical infrastructure – roads, rail and nuclear power stations.

Osborne IF campaign.jpg

So not all bad then? Well not quite. Always the perfect politician, the Chancellor’s boasts of savings and spending hide a multitude of sins.

Despite decades of campaigning, the Treasury have continually failed to ‘gender-proof’ their budgets. The Equalities Impact Assessment for the spending review dedicated a whole seven sentences to the impact on women, all of which only highlight the benefits to women rather than exploring the possible negative consequences. Economic policies can have very different impacts on women and men, yet we rarely see any recognition of this during the budget-making process.

Local governments who have seen their budgets aggressively slashed in recent years face another year of austerity, with their spending reduced by a further 10%. Local authorities fund essential services for women and women’s organisations. Programmes like Sure Start Children’s Centres and the Supporting People programme which fund many sexual and domestic violence support services have already faced cuts of around 11% and now their future looks as uncertain as that of the women and children they support.

 The Chancellor’s ring-fencing is too little, too late and makes no allowance for the fact that health service costs rise faster than inflation

Read More »Chancellor’s spending review is bad news for women