1 in 4 young mums skips meals every day to make cash last

1 in 4 UK young mums are skipping meals every day to provide for their children, new research from Young Women’s Trust, a charity that supports young women on low or no pay, shows.

Survation polled 520 mums between the ages of 18 and 30 for the charity to find that 28% skip meals every day and half (50%) skip meals at least once a week to feed their children.

Among those receiving universal credit, 37% are skipping meals every day to make ends meet.

Young mothers who are in work often struggle too as they get less government support under the age of 25 and are more likely to be on low pay. Not only are under-25s not entitled to the national living wage but they are more likely to work in low-paid sectors like care, cleaning and clerical work.

Young Women’s Trust campaigns and communications director, Joe Levenson, said of the findings: 

“Young Women’s Trust has found that young mothers are facing huge challenges in their everyday lives as they struggle to make ends meet. A shocking number are regularly having to skip meals to feed their children.

“Young mums are telling us they want to work and become financially independent but barriers to work and low pay for those in work prevent that. Those on universal credit are even worse off.

“Politicians should support young people seeking to be financially independent by changing the law to ensure under-25s are entitled to the same National Living Wage as everyone else and rethinking universal credit, which is clearly doing huge damage. This would benefit businesses and the economy too.”

Note to editors 

  1. Young Women’s Trust commissioned Survation to poll young mothers about finances, employment, social networks, stigma, childcare and employment support. The survey was conducted in March 2019 with a representative sample of 520 mothers aged 18 to 30 in the UK.
  2. The survey found that:
    • 1 in 4 skips meals every day (28%) to provide for their children
    • half skip meals at least once a week (50%)
    • 37% of those on Universal Credit skip meals every day, compared to 24% of mums who are not receiving the benefit; and
    • 6 in 10 (61%) skip meals regularly (at least once a month).