TODAY is International Women’s Day: a reminder of our successes, and a point of reflection on where to go next. This year’s theme is ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’.

Rather ironic given the Chancellor’s tax cutting budget that has been announced this week.

Since I became an MP, I have seen nine International Women’s Days. I have spoken in debates, launched petitions, and advocated for the equal rights of women at every opportunity. Indeed, we have seen progress since my election into Parliament in 2015, but I can’t help but feel the UK Government is not listening to what still must be done.

This week, I have written to the Chancellor, calling on him to consider the impact of his tax cutting budget on women across the UK.

READ MORE: Why women in Scotland are still facing obstacles accessing justice

Poverty in the UK is a gendered issue. It is rooted in the overrepresentation of women in single parent families, as unpaid carers, and as low paid and part time workers. Women are more likely to be living in poverty and find it harder to escape its clutches.

The cost of living crisis has only exacerbated the plight of women: affording life’s essentials, sufficient childcare and keeping their heads above water has become a meaner feat.

Women as a result are more likely to be in debt, are more likely to be unable to pay back debt and are at risk of only borrowing more to cope. 61% of those getting into debt to keep up with the cost of every day essentials are women.

Stakeholders eagerly awaited the Chancellor’s budget, with their fingers crossed for ‘essentials guarantees’ for universal credit; the abolition of the high-income child benefit charge; more progressive taxation; increased cost of living support; and further investment in public services.

READ MORE: International Women's Day 2024: Figures of Scottish independence

While changes to the high-income child benefit charge are welcome, this does not take away from the core issue of universal credit and child benefits payments not being enough. They could have ended the two-child limit on universal credit, lifted the benefit cap and bedroom tax, abolished the young parent universal credit penalty or abolished the 5 week wait: policy changes that would have had a direct and immediate impact on alleviating poverty.

The Tory Government speak of ‘Rewarding work’ yet do nothing to increase workplace flexibility to make it work better for families. Instead, the tax cutting budget only served to further entrench gender and economic inequality.

Men £500 better off than women every year

It is estimated that from the Chancellor’s decision to cut national insurance contributions, alongside those already announced in the Autumn budget, that it will make men £500 better off than women every year. Only 3% of this additional revenue will reach the poorest in our society.

Women are more reliant on public services compared to men. Investing in public services means investing in women. The decision to cut taxes further erodes funding to public services which have already been drastically depleted since the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

The Spring Statement did not go far enough, and it certainly did not invest in women.