POLITICS
27/11/2011 12:31 GMT

Women Facing 'Sea Of Disregard' From The Government, Warns Chair Of Labour Commission On Women's Safety

Women are facing a "sea of disregard" from the government, the chair of Labour's commission on women's safety has warned.

Former solicitor general Vera Baird QC told the Huffington Post that women feel increasingly "vulnerable" after government cuts.

Labour have appointed the former MP to chair a commission looking at the impact on the government's policy on women.

"Violence against women support services are falling like ninepins from the dual blows of local authority and government funding... Following Kenneth Clarke's ill-informed comments on rape the impression is that nobody is fighting women's corner in a sea of disregard.

"We will call for evidence, hold hearings, talk to survivors of violence, travel nationwide and do everything we can to ascertain whether these worries are justified, how to point this out to the government so they an put them right and how women's safety can be improved not endangered", she told Huff Post UK.

"Wherever I go, organisations and individuals tell me of their concerns that the Coalition doesn't understand women's issues. They quote tax and welfare and public sector jobs cuts driving women out of work back into the home, and making them vulnerable by removing the power of income and independence from them."

Baird's warning comes after shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves wrote a joint article for the blog Labourlist accusing the government of failing women and calling for George Osborne to change course in Tuesday's Autumn Statement .

"So far the policies from George Osborne and David Cameron have made life much harder for women across the country. Their decisions have flatlined the economy and pushed hundreds of thousands of women out of work."

The prime minister is set to appoint a special adviser who will look at the impact of the government's policies on women as part of efforts to regain the female vote.

The Fawcett Society, backed by a 20-strong group of charities, accused the Government of causing the biggest "risk" to women's financial security "in living memory" and "grinding down women" this month.

A leaked Downing Street memo has acknowledged that some of the government's policies "are seen as having hit women, or their interests, disproportionately".