EQUALITY campaigners warned yesterday that black and Asian women are paying the highest price for Tory austerity and accused the government of repeatedly failing to carry out policy impact assessments.
New research commissioned by the Women’s Budget Group and racial equality think tank the Runnymede Trust shows that the poorest people are set to lose the most from tax and benefit changes by 2020.
However, the first research of its kind into the impact of Budgets and Autumn Statements on minority groups found that, in every income group, black and minority ethnic (BME) women will lose the greatest proportion of their income.
BME women on low incomes have been hardest hit by Tory cuts to services and benefits, and by 2020 will lose around twice as much money as low-income white men as a result of changes to the tax and benefits system.
Covering Tory fiscal policy from 2010, the research also found that, of all household types, ones with single mothers have been worst affected by cuts to services and changes to tax and benefits, followed by single fathers and single female pensioners.
Among single mothers, it is again BME women who will lose the most.
Women’s Budget Group director Dr Eva Neitzert said: “We’ve known for some time that the poorest households and women have shouldered the greatest burden of austerity measures.”
She said that, according to the research, “women lose more than men and black and Asian households lose more than white households. Taken together, this sees the poorest black and Asian women triply disadvantaged.”
Dr Neitzert accused the government of repeatedly failing to carry out a meaningful analysis of the effect of its policies on different groups in society.
Runnymede Trust director Dr Omar Khan said that Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement “does not begin to redress the disadvantages women in general and ethnic minority women in particular have faced as a result of austerity policies.”
Dr Khan added: “We have previously shown that budget cuts have fallen hardest on BME families, but this new and comprehensive data goes further to demonstrate this.
“Black women suffer the cumulative effect of measures that disadvantage women and ethnic minorities and as a result are suffering the worst outcomes.”
He called on the government to address the inequalities in future Budgets “as a matter of urgency.”