The Autumn Statement being announced tomorrow, 3 December 2014, should be of interest to women for the following reasons:
1. Women are the biggest group in society who use public services and cuts to these services affect us all in many ways e.g Sure Start centres, state funded childcare, women's charities providing advice and support to victims of domestic abuse.
2. The UK does not rank in the world's top 20 countries on global gender equality. The UK is at number 26 and falls behind Rwanda and Nicaragua. The ranking was based on criteria such as female labour force participation and wage equality, estimated earned income, educational attainment, health and political empowerment.
3. According to the Fawcett Society , women make up two-thirds of those in low paid work and 1 out of 4 women are now in low paid jobs as opposed to 1 in 7 men; and since 2010 79% of cuts enacted have come from women's pockets.
4. Unison who represents workers in public services has found that over 60% of women who use local leisure centres, parks facilities and open spaces said that services had got worse, and many were worried about their own or their family’s safety when using them. £82m has been cut from children’s centre
budgets in the past three years and 285 children’s centres have merged or closed since 2010. In 2010 there were 2,885 council-funded community centres – now there are only 2,726 – a loss of 159 centres in four years. 13% of funding has been cut from leisure centre budgets. As a result of the cuts, over a third of
women felt more cut off from their community, 28% felt more cut off from finding a job and 12% felt more cut off from their families.As a result of council cuts, a third of women said that they were using services less or had stopped going local altogether, because of rising costs, shorter opening hours and poor facilities. Over one million street lights are now switched off or dimmed for a set period overnight across Great Britain.
85% of women said that too little street lighting would affect how safe they felt at night and 70% said it would affect how often they travelled.
5. According to Gingerbread 39% of single parents are stuck in low pay, 67% of working single parents say that managing their finances is a constant struggle at best and single parents are expected to lose 0.5% of their income by the end of the next Parliament.