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The Economy and Women. Sharon White – Director General, Public Spending. International Women’s Day. Outline. UK Economy in 2011 Outlook for 2012 Impact on women - Labour market; - Spending cuts Policy response. UK Economy 2011. OBR Assessment at Autumn Statement.

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the economy and women

The Economy and Women

Sharon White – Director General, Public Spending

International Women’s Day

  • UK Economy in 2011
  • Outlook for 2012
  • Impact on women
    • - Labour market;
    • - Spending cuts
  • Policy response
obr assessment at autumn statement
OBR Assessment at Autumn Statement
  • High commodity prices pushed up inflation, depressing real incomes
  • Uncertainty from Eurozone weakened confidence
  • Impact of 2008-09 financial crisis on potential growth worse than previously thought
  • Lower forecast growth - and worsened public finances – spending cuts will extend to middle of next Parliament at least.
eurozone threat remains but appears to be receding
Eurozone threat remains, but appears to be receding

Evolution of consensus growth forecasts for 2012

  • Conditions have generally improved over last two months.
  • The anticipated contraction this year may be less severe than expected. Forward looking indicators suggesting stabilisation in economic activity.
labour market
Labour market
  • Female employment fell by less in the recession (<1%) than male employment (3.8%)
  • Reflects greater resilience to downturn of part-time working and public sector jobs
  • Female employment has bounced back by less in recovery than men’s though much closer to peak levels (women: 60,000 below peak; men: 400,000 below)
  • But risk to women of falling public sector employment
public sector cuts
Public Sector cuts
  • Fiscal consolidation mostly through spending cuts not tax rises
  • No gender breakdown available but protected areas of spending include:
    • Health
    • Schools
    • Aid budget
    • Defence equipment
  • Welfare (tax credits and social grants benefits) being cut alongside public services

Getting public finances back on track: maintain market confidence; keep interest rates low

  • Maintaining flow of credit: Quantitative easing; credit easing – especially for small and medium sized businesses
  • Reforming financial system: New regulation to reduce risk of another crisis
  • Growth strategy: Big boost to infrastructure