Anthony Hilton: The Government could easily put women on top if it really wanted to

If the Government wants more women in senior positions, the solution is in its hands

The week kicked off with another depressing survey which showed how male-dominated are most of the centres of power, business and influence in the UK, followed by much predictable hand-wringing about how we needed to try harder.

Changing things would be the simplest of tasks for the Government if it had the will to do it. Time and again one meets well-qualified women who have not pursued their careers because they could not afford to after they had more than one child. Childcare for the first infant was just about affordable, but thereafter they were prohibitive and made the second salary uneconomic. It was costing them to go out to work on top of all the other pressure.

If the Government really wants more women in senior positions the solution is in its hands. First it should follow the example of Denmark and other Scandinavian countries and expand the availability of pre-school nurseries.

Second, government should allow the cost of childcare to be tax deductible, so the financial burden can be offset against the income earned.

Indeed, the principle of tax deductibility should not stop at childcare. We have an army of unemployed with limited skills who are always going to struggle to find work.

It would therefore make sense to encourage those with money to employ people to help them, and the way to do this would be to make it possible to offset the wages of all domestic employees against the personal tax of the employer. Not only would this reduce the cost of employing cleaners, gardeners, housekeepers and drivers, it would also deal a huge blow to the black economy because there would be a positive reason not to pay such people in cash and instead bring them into proper, legitimate employment.

It won't happen though.For some reason rooted in our ideas of class structure and fairness it is good to encourage a one-person, small business to take on an extra worker, but politically toxic to encourage private individuals to do likewise.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Administrator

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are a vibrant and establishe...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Advisor

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Repayments Advis...

Recruitment Genius: Investment Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of financ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you looking to take your ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935