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Women's living standards 'destroyed by cuts'

CON-DEM cuts have destroyed women’s standard of living, Unison delegates told their union’s conference yesterday.

Most of the 631,000 public-sector jobs axed by the coalition in the last two years — as well as the 400,000 set to go by the 2015 election — are women’s jobs, warned northern delegate Liz Jackson.

In some areas twice as many women as men have lost their jobs, she warned.

The devastation is shown in recent official figures, which revealed a shocking rise in women’s unemployment rate from 6.9 to 7.3 per cent since 2010.

And it’s not just women’s jobs but the services they rely on that are being put on the chopping block, delegates warned, with attacks on maternity pay, domestic violence support, the NHS and social care.

“The Tory-boy Cabinet know exactly what effect their austerity measures are having on women and they don’t give a damn,” said North West region delegate Reena Wood.

“What we do need to do is build confidence among our class. We have to remind people what collectivism is. It’s collectively sharing our skills so we have a capacity to have a united front.”

A new Unison report published yesterday suggests that sweeping government cuts to local services are leaving more than a third of women fearing for their safety.

The online survey of 7,550 women across Britain found 34 per cent felt unsafe as government cuts are causing more than a million street lights across Britain to be switched off or dimmed.

Mucky streets with uneven pavements and potholes are also serving to make women feel unsafe, the findings suggest.

A freedom of information request to councils across England, Scotland and Wales found that more than £82 million has been cut from children’s centre budgets and £41m in councils’ parks and open space budgets since 2010.

More than 70 council-funded children’s centres and 40 community centres have closed each year since 2010 — disproportionately affecting women.

Delegates vowed to promote the importance of trade union membership for women and challenge the inequalities that the government’s cuts agenda is causing.


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