Austerity hits women 'twice as hard as men'

Theresa May's 'just managing' families expected to lose £1,678 a year by 2020 after government cuts

George Osborne
(Image credit: Paul Ellis /AFP/Getty Images)

Austerity measures have hit women in the UK twice as hard as men, according to new figures published ahead of Chancellor Philip Hammond's Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

Independent think-tank Women's Budget Group says women have shouldered 85 per cent of the burden of the government's tax and benefit changes since 2010.

Its analysis also found that women on average will be £1,003 a year worse off by 2020, while men will be £555 poorer.

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Those on below average incomes - part of the Theresa May's "just managing" section of society - will be most affected and are expected to be £1,678 worse off.

The findings "show how far measures introduced since 2010 by the former chancellor George Osborne have increased gender inequality", says The Guardian.

Women's groups have already attacked sections of the new universal credit system, saying the system, which by default pay benefits into the account of the main earner in each household, will undermine women's economic independence.

Separately, UK charity Gingerbread says lone parents, 90 per cent of whom are women, could lose up to a month's income per year as a result of planned cuts.

Hammond's Autumn Statement, his first set-piece speech since becoming chancellor, is expected to direct support towards the "just about managing" families – or "Jam", as they being referred to in Whitehall circles.

Specifically this refers to households earning £18,000-£24,000 a year who do not qualify for much government assistance and struggle to make ends meet, says The Times.

Resolution Foundation think-tank said last week that reversing those cuts would be the single biggest change the government could make to help the less well off.

However, as the government is expected to announce a big rise in borrowing in the coming years and is already paying for a U-turn on disability benefits, it remains to be seen whether it can do so.

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