We call on the government to:
• Carry out and publish assessments of the potential equality impact of all spending and revenue raising policies and assess the cumulative impact of the budget as a whole.
• Monitor the actual equality impact of policies.
• Take into account the combined impact of different cuts on particularly vulnerable groups in their assessments and monitoring.
• End the benefit freeze, linking annual increases in benefits and tax credits to the cost of living and/or average wages.
• Review Universal Credit, ending the six week wait for payments, allowing for payments to be split between partners and improving the work allowance and incentives for second earners.
• Remove arbitrary caps on the amount of benefits that a household can claim ensuring the level of benefit support is based on need.
• Ensure a system of local government funding that is based on the needs of the local population.
• Invest in social infrastructure (health, education and care services). These services are vital to both the economy and the wellbeing and life chances of individuals. This would involve:
• Improve access to quality and decent jobs for BME women.
• Reduction in tuition fees for higher education and universities to remove barriers to access.
• Include low-income women, young mothers and young people with special needs in the qualifying criteria for the 16-19 Bursary Fund.
• Funding for initiatives that encourage women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds to consider subjects and occupations where they are under-represented.
• Fund affordable, high quality, flexible childcare.
• Develop plans for a ‘national care service’ alongside the NHS to provide for the social care needs of all.
• Improve access to quality and decent jobs for BME women. This would include:
• Implement the recommendations of the McGregor-Smith (2017) review into Race in the Workplace.
• Legislate to reduce opportunities for conscious and unconscious bias during recruitment processes, for example by requiring blind reviewing.
• Ensure that the public sector becomes a model employer in terms of promoting equal outcomes, and uses its power as a purchaser of services to encourage better practice in the private sector.
• Require mandatory reporting of pay gaps by ethnicity, as well as gender, in large organisations.