Help for women who want to return to work
Budget 2017: Theresa May pledges help for 'returnships'
A £5 million fund will support an expansion of “returnships”, a scheme that helps people rebuild CVs by taking on short-term assignments for firms.
The support is also open to men but is targeted at women who left professional positions to bring up families.
Ahead of a No 10 reception for high-flyers to mark International Women’s Day, the Prime Minister said: “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 under-represented.” She added: “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.”
There will also be an additional £20 million in the Budget to support organisations tackling domestic violence. Mrs May said she attached “personal importance” to the issue, which she championed as Home Secretary.
“There are currently thousands of people across Britain who are reading this right now and who suffer at the hands of abusers,” she added. “I know they feel isolated and do not know where to turn for help. Raising awareness as well as strengthening the law will prove crucial in the fight against this life-shattering and abhorrent crime.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond was also unveiling a £5 million fund to support education projects. It is to mark next year’s centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave the vote to women over 30 who owned property and paved the way for equal voting rights 10 years later.
Shadow equalities minister Sarah Champion said: “It’s right that we mark and celebrate the achievements of so many women who risked their homes, families and freedom to fight for democracy and economic equality.
“However, 99 years later, women are still having to fight for economic equality under this Tory government.”
Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said: “Enabling women who want to work or who want to work more outside of the home to do so brings real financial benefits to families and also to the economy. Whether £5 million will be enough to tackle the discrimination returning mothers face is moot.”
The plans were unveiled as women from across the country marched on Parliament today to rally against pension changes that mean they will have to work for longer. About 2.6 million women born in the Fifties lost early access to their state pension when the Government made the retirement age 65 for both men and women.