Government will invest £30m from the Spring Budget to support women and advance gender equality Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, revealed.
The Budget will provide £20m to organisations that campaign against domestic violence and abuse against women, while a further £5m will go towards ‘returnships’ – to assist people back into work after long career breaks.
The returnships will be open to men and women, aiming to equip returners with fresh skills.
Making the statement on International Women’s Day, the Chancellor also announced a £5 million fund for projects to celebrate 100 years since the enactment of the Representation of the People Act, coming up in 2018, which gave women the right to vote.
Commenting on the decision to include this in the Budget, Hammond said: “It is important that we not only celebrate next year’s Centenary but also that we educate young people about its significance.”
“It was the decisive step in the political emancipation of women in this country and this money will go to projects to mark its significance and remind us all just how important it was.”
The Chancellor also highlighted flagship childcare reforms due to take effect this year:
“Next month we will see the introduction of our flagship Tax-Free Childcare policy, which will allow working families across the UK to receive up to £2,000 a year towards the cost of childcare for each child under 12.
“And from September, working parents with three and four year olds will get their free childcare entitlement doubled to 30 hours a week.”
In a speech to mark International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “When I stood on the steps of Downing Street and said I wanted this to be a country that works for everyone – I meant it.”
“That’s why – on International Women’s Day – I’m pleased to announce £5 million to help mothers returning to work after a long career break.”
“Women are driving our economy forward, securing 77 per cent of new jobs last year – and now represent a higher percentage of FTSE Board membership than ever before.”
“Returnships are open to both men and women but we should acknowledge that, more often than not, it is women who give up their careers to devote themselves to motherhood, only to find the route back into employment closed off – the doors shut to them.”
“This isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it doesn’t make economic sense. So I want to see this scheme extended to all levels of management and into industries where women are underrepresented.”