Labour has secured a vote on its amendment to the Finance Bill to force the Government to conduct an assessment of the impact of social security changes and fiscal measures on disadvantaged groups.
The Government failed to meet Labour’s demand for the Budget to be audited on the basis of gender, race, age, disability, class and region.
Other parties have now joined Labour calls for transparency, with 127 MPs from Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP and the Greens, signing Dawn Butler’s letter to Justine Greening calling for all Government policy to be assessed for their impact on disadvantaged groups.
Although the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) places a legal responsibility on public bodies, including the Treasury, to conduct equality assessments, Labour says the Treasury has failed to publish adequate equalities audits of its fiscal measures.
This comes as analysis shows that 86 per cent of tax and social security changes continue to fall on women and women only received two thirds of the spending men received in this budget.
Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, said: “The Tories’ failed austerity project has hit the most vulnerable groups in our society the hardest, forcing women, ethnic minority communities and disabled people to pay the highest price.
“The Finance Bill represents more of the same for groups with protected characteristics who have borne the brunt of Conservative economic failure for too long.
“We need a detailed assessment to reveal the full damage of Tory austerity.”
She added: “The next Labour government will ensure that we publish comprehensive equality impact assessments to enable us to truly build an economy that works for the many, not the few.”
The Government has defeated Labour’s motion. Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Peter Dowd MP, commented: “This Conservative Government has once again demonstrated that it favours tax dodgers over tax payers, bankers over single mothers and large multinationals over public sector workers.
“This evening’s votes saw the Government block Labour’s amendments which would have required the Minister to publish an equalities impact assessment on all economic policies and forced ministers to review the tax gap.”