I was delighted to have this article posted on the TUC’s Touchstone blog on 02/07/2013.
Bad news for most: The Chancellor’s spending review holds little hope for women
Last week members of the Women’s Budget Group met to watch and discuss the Chancellor’s spending review for 2015 – 2016. Predictably it held few surprises: more cuts, more austerity and a few titbits to keep the voting public happy in advance of the 2015 election.
Of course there was some good news – the budget for the NHS remains safe from cuts and overseas development spending continues to be set at 0.7% of GDP. For every public sector job that has been lost, three private sector jobs have been created, and the Chancellor also announced a huge investment in physical infrastructure – roads, rail and nuclear power stations. Which has got to be good, right?
Well not quite.
The Chancellor’s ‘good news’ announcements cover up a multitude of sins. Again we see local authorities bearing the brunt of the cuts with their budgets being slashed by a further 10%. Local Governments provide essential services to women and women’s organisations. Successful programmes like Sure Start now have a future as uncertain as the children they support.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport faces a cut of 7% but many of us balked when Osborne announced that ‘elite sport’ would be protected whilst many local sports clubs face cuts or even closure. All of these reductions take place whilst the Chancellor has somehow found enough money to protect the defence budget.