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Rishi Sunak ‘missed opportunity to boost gender equality’ in coronavirus recovery package, claims former minister

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 09/07/2020 Sophia Sleigh, ALEX LAWSON
a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a door: Rishi Sunak hopes to boost the hospitality sector with his new measures (AP) © Provided by Evening Standard Rishi Sunak hopes to boost the hospitality sector with his new measures (AP)

The Chancellor’s mini-budget was a “missed opportunity” to boost gender equality, a former Tory minister claimed today.

Caroline Nokes said Rishi Sunak made “no mention” of the sectors where women are disproportionately represented and that still remain closed, such as the beauty industry.

Ms Nokes, chair of the Commons Equalities Committee, said: “Whilst the Chancellor has said that measures aimed at hospitality and tourism sector will benefit women and BAME people, the three most common sectors for women in the UK to work in are health and social care; retail and wholesale; and education.”

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She added it was “disappointing” there was no mention of help for the childcare sector, which mostly employs women and helps keep them in work.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “Precarious, and in some areas non-existent, childcare provision will leave many working parents (for that read mothers) unable to return to work and losing their jobs as a result.

"Although generous in many ways, the Chancellor's summer statement was blind to the needs of women and in particular failed to plug the gaping hole that is opening up in the childcare sector.

"The economic recovery will fail if we leave working mothers behind. Childcare is vital infrastructure to help get this country working again. Without it, for working parents all that money invested in saving jobs will have been wasted."

Karen Blackett, who runs the British arm of advertising giant WPP and is a non-executive director to the Cabinet Office, told the Standard: “With our new normal meaning that childcare staples during the summer holidays, such as holiday camps and activity clubs have all but disappeared, it is tougher for working parents to get back into the office.

"So many people are working harder than ever trying to blend their home life and work life. Women again are disproportionately affected. Giving working parents a helping hand was a missed opportunity in the Summer Statement.”


Video: Rishi Sunak reveals Job Retention Bonus for employers who bring back furloughed staff (Wales Online)

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