Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Women’s Budget Group training day, 30 January 2015 The UK social security system and its gender effects Fran Bennett.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Women’s Budget Group training day, 30 January 2015 The UK social security system and its gender effects Fran Bennett."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women’s Budget Group training day, 30 January 2015 The UK social security system and its gender effects Fran Bennett

2 Overview Gender: not sex (individual characteristic) but structural and societal patterns and effects Purposes of benefits/tax credits Structure of UK benefits/tax credits system, highlighting key gender issues of entitlement, unit & potential impact; conditionality; payment Principles for gender impact assessment Government equality impact assessments: examples WBG work on universal credit

3 Purposes of benefits/tax credits Multiple purposes of benefits/tax credits (some may also be fulfilled by occupational/ fiscal/private/charitable/informal provision) Vertical/horizontal/lifecycle redistribution Share risks, + not let costs lie where they fall Prevention, not just relief, of poverty Incentives to work/save/other behaviours (+ functional purposes for state: fertility etc.) In UK focus on household need at 1 point in time

4 Structure of UK benefits/tax credits system UK seen as ‘liberal’ welfare state: dominance of market and means test, especially in benefits Non-means-tested benefits for earnings replacement; but minimal, with poverty focus, now no earnings relation (except SMP): most are contributory, though Carer’s Allowance is not Means-tested benefits for earnings replacement ‘Tax credits’ (benefits) introduced from 1999 to replace previous top-ups for families with worker and disabled people; now extended to childless Benefits for additional costs (means tested/not)

5 Benefits/tax credits: key gender issues More of women’s income is benefits/tax credits Much debate on benefits/tax credits concerns amounts of benefit and ways to simplify them Important – but insufficient focus on key issues from a gender perspective - including: Eligibility rules (how you qualify) Unit of entitlement (individual or family) Potential impact on gender roles/relation- ships/responsibilities, in paid and unpaid work, both now and in longer term Look at whole picture (eg private provision too)

6 Contributory benefits Eg employment and support allowance (ESA), jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), state pension … Eligibility: based on contributions paid/credited; often based on male working life norm; often seen as priviliging paid work, undervaluing caring work Unit: in UK now no longer family based but individual Potential impact: independent income, no incentive to partner to stop work; unsuited to new labour market? Recent developments: removed earnings relation in pension; working age benefits more inclusive, but also tighter conditions/cuts/shortened; SMP improvements

7 Categorical benefits To replace income/help meet extra costs Eligibility: depends only on falling into certain group (eg being a carer for Carer’s Allowance; having a child for Child Benefit (but now tax charge for high income claimants/partners) Unit: usually individual; but CA lower than contributory benefits (dependant’s rate) Potential impact: low long-term state benefit leads to labour market exit for women? (under- mining route to more sustainable income?)

8 Means-tested benefits/tax credits Eg ESA, JSA, Income Support (IS), tax credits Eligibility: family based means test, ie entitle- ment for couples depends on presence, resources and actions of partner (for couple) Unit: family (couple + dependent children) – claim may be individual/joint for couples Potential impact: economic dependence of partners; disincentives to earn (extra) income, esp. for ‘second earner’; ‘hidden poverty’

9 Conditionality Eligibility for all benefits/tax credits depends on conditions (eg residence for Child Benefit) But more emphasis recently on behavioural conditionality, in particular ‘welfare to work’ Underplay impact of caring on paid work prep- aration/possibilities? solidify gender divisions if conditionality modified for only 1 partner? Individualised conditionality implies individual benefit (‘rights and responsibilities’)? Partner’s actions/inaction can incur sanction for family

10 Payment Assumption of all income shared + fungible But research suggests esp. women may be in ‘hidden poverty’/may manage family poverty So it may be important who benefit is paid to Child Benefit is paid to the mother by default Child Tax Credit, childcare element of Working Tax Credit paid to ‘main carer’ (nominated) Not same as independent income (for self) Analyses of individual incomes (NEP/Landman Economics etc.): how allocate income for others?

11 Principles for gender impact assessment Not just resources for men vs women but also Where income comes from and why Who receives it How it is labelled and for what purpose paid How it may affect gender roles/relationships/ inequalities within the home and outside Its effect on security/autonomy for individual, caring responsibilities, and inequalities within household at point of change and in longer term

12 Government equality impact assessments: examples Tightening of contribution conditions (2010), including for ESA Benefit cap for those out of work (2012) ‘Bedroom tax’/’abolition of spare room subsidy’ (2012) Universal credit (2011) Universal credit (2012 impact assessment) PM now says EIAs not necessary

13 UC: general structure and aims UC brings together 6 means-tested benefits/ tax credits; assessed once a month; paid in one lump sum, monthly; ‘digital by default’ Main aims: simplification + work incentives Key goal: changing culture, transforming lives Not part of cuts agenda, except administration – though subsequent cuts sabotage its aims Delayed; v. few couples/with children claiming

14 UC: gender issues Work incentives for many ‘2nd earners’ worse; government’s priority = one earner in household For lone parents, few incentives to work more Conditionality: imposition of conditions for partners in couples with children for first time (& extended to those in work below set income) ‘Lead carer’ in couple with children will be treated as lone parent (ie parent easements of conditionality) Monthly payment to 1 account only for couples (if they can’t decide, main carer/main bills payer gets UC) + if domestic abuse backup option to split UC (temporary?)

Download ppt "Women’s Budget Group training day, 30 January 2015 The UK social security system and its gender effects Fran Bennett."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google