Caroline Nokes Chair of Women and Equalities Committee reaction to Chancellor's summer statement
8 July 2020
“There is much in the Chancellor's announcement to be welcomed, however the lack of focus on using his three-point plan to boost gender equality is a missed opportunity.
Whilst the Chancellor has said that measures aimed at hospitality and tourism sector will benefit women and BAME people, the three most common sectors for women in the UK to work in are health and social care; retail and wholesale; and education.
There was no mention of helping businesses in sectors where women are disproportionately represented and which remain shut down, for example the beauty industry.
There were no specific measures aimed to help workers in these sectors. It was disappointing to hear no mention of government support for the childcare sector, which predominantly employs women. We know that affordable, reliable childcare is key in enabling women to return to work and stay in work.
Whilst the overall package of support has been speedily delivered and far reaching in terms of the numbers it has assisted, we now know much more about the differential economic impact on men and women, and the effect which Covid-19 has had on existing economic inequalities. The Government must focus its attention on targeted interventions to reduce, rather than inadvertently exacerbate, gendered economic inequalities. Our witnesses today stressed that labour market inequalities cannot be separated from inequalities in the home and in society. The Government must look further ahead than just the post-pandemic recovery – now is the time for levelling up gender equality in society, which can only result in a more equal, stronger, more resilient economy.”
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