Increased taxes, fairer society: UK survey reveals need for equality | United Kingdom Information

The authors of the new report call for radical change in the economy and recognition of the unpaid care work that is normally done by women.

People in the UK would like to pay higher taxes for a more just, caring and equal society as the coronavirus pandemic changes people’s views about the world they want to live in, economists said Wednesday.

In a report to be presented to parliamentarians, regional governments and business leaders, they have set out a radical roadmap for building a “caring economy” that puts people and the planet first.

“This is an idea whose time has come,” said Mary-Ann Stephenson, director of Women’s Budget Group, a think tank that released the report.

“People don’t want to go back to business as usual. We are calling for a fundamental change in the way we approach business. It’s about a vision to do things differently, ”she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

At the heart of the proposed new economy is the recognition of society’s reliance on paid and unpaid care work, largely done by women, and the need to distribute it more evenly.

Proposals include the introduction of free social welfare, free childcare, an even distribution of parental leave, a fairer minimum wage, a universal basic income for pensioners and a reduction in the working week to around 30 hours.

Stephenson said the pandemic could be a catalyst for reform, much like the introduction of the UK welfare system after World War II.

The transformation could be funded through major changes to the tax system and borrowing, she added.

The survey of more than 2,000 people found that a significant majority would be willing to pay more taxes to support secure jobs for all, a wage increase for key workers, environmentally friendly transportation and affordable housing.

The UK government’s budget deficit – the excess of its spending compared to its income – hit a record £ 174 billion ($ 223 billion) in the first five months of its fiscal year as it ran programs to support laid-off workers and troubled companies introduced. The Budgetary Responsibility Office reported last week.

Government net debt – the difference between its financial assets and liabilities – rose nearly 22 percent year over year to 102 percent the size of the UK economy in August, its highest since fiscal 1960/61.

After it was reported that UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was considering a tax hike to fill the government finances, local media quoted corporate groups and members of his Conservative Party as saying it would “stifle” it. the country’s economic recovery.

A more caring society

Stephenson said the pandemic has significantly eased the importance of caring for the economy – both paid and unpaid.

Women do 60 percent more unpaid work than men, reducing their time to paid employment, affecting their income and making them poorer in old age, she said.

The Women’s Budget Group survey found that the overwhelming opinion of both men and women was the need for a better balance between paid work, caring responsibilities and free time.

Three quarters of those questioned believed that economic equality between women and men was a sign of a good society.

Four out of five respondents – including three quarters of men – agreed that women and men should look after children, elderly and disabled relatives equally. Most said the government should fund men to provide more care.

“The way things work right now, they don’t work for women, but they also don’t work for men,” said Stephenson. “Just as women need some time off from care, men need time to care.”

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