Chwarae Teg responds to the Budget 2023

15th March 2023

Today’s budget offers much needed investment in childcare services in England, but does not go far enough to tackle the root causes of gender inequality.

“While any and all investments in childcare are welcome, the pace of change announced by the Chancellor today is far too slow. Changes to childcare support through Universal Credit are much needed, but the expansion of support to children aged 9 months and above needs to happen far more quickly than planned.

“Expansion of provision for parents of two-year-olds is already under way in Wales. We had hoped that announcements today would create space for Welsh Government to go further and faster. It is not yet clear how additional funding for England will impact on provision in Wales, but we believe that investment is needed now to give the Welsh Government the space to deliver on its own commitments around childcare.

“It is also concerning to hear the increased focus on conditionality within the benefits system. Conditionality is a blunt tool which too often fails to account for an individual’s circumstances. We know that women are more likely to be working while in receipt of Universal Credit and are more likely to be affected by the increased conditionality for those who do not earn enough to meet the revised threshold.

“Finally, the Chancellor has also missed an opportunity to provide more support for those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. We know that women are feeling the full brunt of the cost-of-living crisis. While many families are struggling to make ends meet, our own research shows that it is women who are the first to go without when times are tough. Unfortunately, the lack of support to the least well-off means that women again are paying the price of the cost-of-living crisis.

“As we have highlighted before, to support women and meet current economic challenges head-on, the UK Government must centre equality in its budgetary decisions.

Lucy Reynolds
Chief Executive, Chwarae Teg