Sophie Walker responds to the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan

Responding to the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan, Sophie Walker, Chief Executive of Young Women’s Trust said:

“Today’s announcement may give reassurances to some, but it offers little comfort to the young women who have already lost their jobs, or who have been pushed into unpaid work, or who are furloughed from jobs that paid barely enough to begin with.

“The reality is that many young women simply cannot afford to live on 77 percent of their existing pay given that so many of them work in poorly paid sectors and positions. The reality is that many young women work in the sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, such as services, retail and leisure. The reality is that many young women have not been paid for weeks and months already because they have been pushed into doing the lion’s share of unpaid care work, tending to the ill, the elderly and the young, and doing domestic labour.

“The Chancellor said ‘life means more than simply existing.’ He should listen to the one in four young mums who were already skipping meals every day just to make ends meet. The Chancellor talked about ‘viable jobs’ – but where does that leave those whose work is essential yet unseen?

Yet again the government demonstrates a total lack of understanding that coronavirus is leaving women in financial crisis because of the paid and unpaid work they are more likely to do. Only a response that sees woman can support them.

“We want the government to make employers show who they are hiring and firing this winter and publish that data by protected characteristics. Only by seeing this can they truly make the targeted interventions that are missing in today’s announcement for the sectors and people worst affected.”