The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day today is the Changing World of Work. It seems doubly inappropriate then that the Tory government’s Budget today is likely to include more cuts to the services women, in particular, rely on to get and keep well-paid, stable jobs.
The underfunding of health and social care hurts everyone, but the impact falls disproportionately on women, both as users of these services and as family carers.
The cost of living is rising and wages are stagnant, hurting women in particular who still take home less than men for doing equivalent work.
And because women work in and use public services more than men, cuts to these vital services have had a huge impact on women.
For all the government’s claims of ‘resetting’ its economic policy last summer, it is clear that Chancellor Philip Hammond is delivering more of the same, with an extraordinary 86 per cent of tax and benefit savings to the Treasury coming from women, people with disabilities and the poor.
Of course, the cuts and Tory policies ultimately hurt all of us, women and men alike, because our communities suffer and the social fabric begins to fray.
Here, Liverpool City Council is faced with making £90 million more cuts over the next three years, bringing the total amount of central government spending cuts since 2010 to £420 million.
And in Liverpool Wavertree one in three children in our constituency – 6,119 – are living in poverty, almost half of them in families where at least one parent is in work.
In Picton ward, over half the children – 52 per cent are living in poverty. In Kensington and Fairfield it is 43 per cent, and in Old Swan it is 34 per cent. For comparison, in the Prime Minister’s constituency the figure is 13, and in the Chancellor’s constituency the figure is 16 per cent.
Across the country, real hourly wages are 10 per cent lower now than before the crash, leaving too many people unable to make ends meet.
That is the reality of having the Tories in government for seven long years – an economy built on causualised, low-paid, temporary and precarious work, poverty for children, and underfunded schools, hospitals and social care.
That is why Labour is today calling for a Budget that reverses the trends of recent years and invests in our health and care services, encourages businesses to invest in jobs and generates the economic growth we need to properly fund our schools and other public services.
We need an International Women’s Day Budget for all.