The election in 2010 of a coalition government made up of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties ushered in a sea change in social security policy. The global financial crisis in 2007/8 had worsened public finances and the incoming government argued for the need to make substantial cuts to social security and public service spending to ‘balance the books’. Soon after the 2010 election the new government produced an ‘emergency budget’ introducing a period of austerity that is still on-going in 2018.
The Women’s Budget Group responded to the budget, highlighting that women were going to be the biggest losers from any cuts to both social security and public services. Since then we have carried out a series of analyses of the impact of austerity, not only by gender but by race and income. This work is described in more detail in the pages on Cumulative Impact Analysis.