The Women’s Budget Group in the UK, made up of academic researchers, policy experts and campaigners, has released new polling data which shows overwhelming public support for urgent changes to the UK’s economy.
The data shows that people want to see priority given to investment in care services and social security alongside more government support for women and men to share care more equally. Strikingly, a majority agreed that they would be happy to pay more tax to support this change.
There was also strong agreement for better wages and job security for UK workers with 69 per cent of people willing to pay more tax to support well-paid and secure jobs for everyone.
The polling is being published alongside the final report of the Women’s Budget Group’s Commission on a Gender-Equal Economy. The Commission began in spring 2019 and convened experts from business, trade unions, civil society, and academia to develop a vision and practical proposals for how the UK economy can be transformed into one which promotes equality, wellbeing and sustainability – priorities that the polling has shown are key to people across the country.
This report, Creating a Caring Economy: A Call to Action, has landed at a time when people are looking beyond GDP as a measure of economic success. Polling shows that 68 per cent of people agreed that wellbeing and standard of life should be used to judge the success of government economy policy.
Marion Sharples, Project Manager of the Commission, and author of the report said: “This report has launched as we are entering a second wave of Coronavirus. For far too long the Government has been tinkering with policies and expecting these tweaks to deliver wholly different outcomes. What the polling and the Commission’s report show us is that in order to have an economy that works for everyone we need a bold vision of an economy that includes everyone.
“Care is central to this vision. We will all require care at some point in our lives. At the moment care work isn’t shared fairly, with women doing the majority of care, both paid and unpaid. This means women have less time for paid work and other activities, so they earn less, own less and are more likely to be living in poverty. At the same time men are expected to be the main breadwinner, so they do not have the time to care for others.
“Our polling shows that both women and men want to change this and they are willing pay for it through higher tax. The report lays out a vision of an economy where we have time to care, and time free from care. There is also a strong call among the public for the Government to help facilitate this change and our report lays out how we can do things differently. ”
Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the UK Women’s Budget Group said: “The polling results shows strong support for investing in public services, equal distribution of care and higher wages for UK workers. The public is willing to pay for this in higher taxes.
“The shift in public priorities shows that people want an economy that looks beyond GDP and actually works to make a real impact on the quality of people’s everyday lives.”