Females: Fiscal Policy
Women and Equalities
Lynne Featherstone (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Equalities Office; Hornsey and Wood Green, Liberal Democrat)
Reducing the deficit this Government inherited requires difficult decisions to be made as this is the only way back to a strong economy that creates opportunities for the next generation and supports world class public services. However, the Government are ensuring that economic reforms are implemented fairly, with the most vulnerable protected. For example:
Raising the personal tax free allowance will lift two million of the lowest-paid workers out of income tax altogether, more than half of whom (59%) are women;
Allocating an additional £300 million for child care support under universal credit on top of the £2 billion already spent under the current system will help around 80,000 more families with children to work their chosen hours; and
Extending the entitlement to 15 hours a week of free early education will benefit 260,000 of the most disadvantaged two-year-olds.
Beyond getting the public finances under control, the Government are also laying the foundations for a stronger, more prosperous Britain with women at the heart of the economy by:
Removing barriers for women in the workplace through improving transparency, extending the right to request flexible working, introducing flexible parental leave, and ensuring more women progress into the boardroom;
Providing resources to identify and train 15,000 new mentors to support anyone setting up and growing a business, including 5,000 specifically for female entrepreneurs, and providing £2 million over the next three years to support women entrepreneurs in rural areas; and
Establishing a Women's Business Council to ensure Government get the best advice on how to maximise women's potential to drive economic growth.
In addition, because women's safety is a priority for this Government, we are ensuring that economic reforms do not compromise protection for victims. For example, we are:
Ring-fencing nearly £40 million of stable funding up to 2015 for specialist local domestic and sexual violence support services, rape crisis centres, the national domestic violence helplines and the stalking helpline;
Allocated £1.2 million over three years to improve services for young people affected by sexual violence and exploitation, including from gangs; and
Continuing to provide legal aid for the victims of domestic violence to apply for protective injunctions and continue to waive the financial eligibility limits in these cases.