UK Politics

Budget 2017: Fund of £5m to help mothers back to work

Mum using laptop while holding a baby Image copyright Thinkstock

A £5m fund to help mothers return to work after a career break will be set out in the Budget, which falls on International Women's Day.

Announcing the move, Prime Minister Theresa May said return to work schemes would be extended to industries where women were under-represented.

She also said domestic violence organisations would receive £20m.

A £5m fund to mark the centenary, in 2018, of the act that first gave women the vote will also be in the Budget.

The prime minister said return to work schemes were open to both men and women, but told parenting website Mumsnet: "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."

The schemes aim to give those who have taken long career breaks the opportunity to refresh their skills and build professional networks.

The government plans to work with business groups and public sector organisations.

Mumsnet chief executive Justine Roberts said women faced a "motherhood penalty" after having children.

"Whether £5m will be enough to tackle the discrimination returning mothers face is moot," she said.

"What's crucial is that workplaces embrace flexible working, which is what many parents tell us they most need."

'Raising awareness'

On the domestic abuse funding, Mrs May, who is working to oversee a new Domestic Violence and Abuse Act, said: "There are currently thousands of people across Britain who are reading this right now and who suffer at the hands of abusers.

"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."

The 1918 Representation of the People Act gave some women the vote for the first time.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said it was "important" to educate young people about its significance.

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