The rise in female economic participation has been a significant contributor to rising living standards in the past three decades, but new working patterns have also changed the kinds of support on which workers depend. The UK childcare market quadrupled in size from 1990 to 2006. Now ageing is adding further pressure; by 2040, one in ten people will be over 75. People will need to stay productive in work into later life. Public services have long had a significant impact on people’s living standards in the sense that they provide significant ‘benefits-in-kind’. Now services like childcare and elderly care look set to have a more direct impact than ever on people’s ability to raise their earnings through work.
Source: ONS economic participation by gender
Read more about these issues in the reports to the Commission on Living Standards