Sarah Champion MP to lead debate on financial gender inequality

Labour will tomorrow hold the Government to account on economic equality for women during a debate in the House of Commons.

The debate was called for by Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Sarah Champion, after new research she commissioned revealed that 86 per cent of net savings to the Treasury through tax and benefit measures since 2010 have come from women.

This figure is an increase from the last Autumn Statement in 2015 where the figure was 81 per cent and the same as the Budget earlier this year.

The Government has repeatedly failed to gender-audit its own economic policies despite requests from the Women and Equalities Select Committee.

Labour will call on the Government to do more to protect women, particularly BME women who have been hit hardest by austerity cuts.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's debate, Sarah Champion, said:

This debate is a vital opportunity to hold this government to account on its woeful record on economic equality.

As of the 2016 Autumn Statement, 86 per cent of the net savings to the treasury through tax and benefit measures since 2010 will have come from women. In addition, new research shows that BME women in all income groups are hit the hardest by austerity measures. This is completely unacceptable and things have to change.

Theresa May and Philip Hammond have talked the talk on equality but the figures speak for themselves. Warm words and half-hearted promises on improving the economy for women are not enough.

The Government's attitude to the impact of their policies on women has now shifted from a blithering dismissiveness to wilful and deliberate evasion. Their contempt stretches further than the Autumn Statement you only have to look at the terrible way the WASPI women have been treated, the rise in levels of maternity discrimination and the impact of unprecedented cuts to public services to see that women are bearing the brunt of this government's failed austerity agenda.

The Tories have repeatedly refused even after being pressured by the Women and Equalities Select Committee to gender audit their own economic policies. With these figures, it's not difficult to work out why.

Under a Labour Government, all economic policies will be gender audited to ensure equality for all. I hope that fellow MPs across Parliament will join me tomorrow in imploring the government to stop ignoring the voices of millions of women across the UK who need economic stability.

Notes to Editors

  • Research by the House of Commons Library commissioned by Sarah Champion shows that 86% of the net savings to the treasury through tax and benefit measures since 2010 will have come from women:
  • The Women and Equalities Select Committee last month published a report which criticised the government's lack of proper impact analysis of the 2015 AFS and recommended that they produce one alongside this Autumn Statement.
  • Low income black and Asian women will lose around twice as much money as low income white men as a result of tax and benefit changes according to research by the Runnymede Trust and Women's Budget Group
  • The Opposition Day Debate will take place in Parliament after Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday 14th December
  • EFFECT ON EQUALITY OF THE AUTUMN STATEMENT 2016 full wording of motion

Jeremy Corbyn

Sarah Champion

Rebecca Long Bailey

John McDonnell

Debbie Abrahams

Mr Nicholas Brown

That this House notes with concern the disproportionate impact of the Government's policies on women; further notes that, as a result of proposals in the 2016 Autumn Statement, 86 per cent of net savings to the Treasury through tax and benefit changes since 2010 will come from women, according to the House of Commons Library; notes with concern analysis from the Women's Budget Group which states that by 2020, in every income group, black and minority ethnic women will lose the greatest proportion of their individual income and that low income black and Asian women will lose around twice as much money as low income white men as a result of tax and benefit changes; and calls on the Government to affirm its commitment to ensuring that women and protected groups are not disproportionately affected by tax and benefits changes, to conduct an urgent assessment of the cumulative impact of its policies on women since 2010, to take the necessary remedial steps to mitigate any disproportionate burden of tax and benefits changes on women, to publish a full equality impact analysis with the 2017 Budget and to develop and publish a gender equality strategy to improve the position of women over the remainder of this Parliament.

Matthew Trueman