With the UK general election (7th May) now less than three weeks away, future directions for Britain’s budget remain high on the political and public agenda.
In the latest issue of Feminist Review, Ruth Pearson and Diane Elson, members of the Women’s Budget Group, contest the necessity of continued austerity measures and outline an alternative vision for a feminist economic strategy, a Plan F:
“Plan F is a long-term vision for a prosperous and caring economy focused on investment in social infrastructure such as health, education, childcare, social housing and lifelong care, which benefit all, not just the few. Rather than tax reductions, which erode government revenue and incentivise a pernicious privatisation of social risks, a new social contract is needed where everyone contributes to funding public services and reaps the benefits from a more inclusive society. Only then could it truly be said that ‘we are all in this together’. This alternative feminist strategy for economic recovery is focused on achieving a caring economy that allows women to be financially independent, and supports gender equality. It would require investment in the development of high-quality care services, protection of public services and the raising of the minimum wage for all to a truly Living Wage. It would also mean the repeal of social security measures that will destroy women’s links with their communities – such as the bedroom tax and benefits cap… [T]his is a real alternative, and can be supported by raising more revenue from wealthy people, high earners and financial instititutions, and re-thinking expenditure on military and other infrastructure. Until such a feminist economic strategy with gender and social equality at its heart is ensured there will be no recovery for women.”
The Women’s Budget Group and Scottish Women’s Budget Group’s Plan F briefing paper is available here.