The pandemic has seen 1.5 million young women lose income, with many juggling multiple caring responsibilities, unsafe working conditions and insecure jobs. Now they face further financial pressures, from the end of furlough and the Universal Credit uplift, to rapidly rising living costs. Young women have told us that the Universal Credit uplift has been a lifeline, helping them afford medications, feed their children, buy period products and remove themselves from abusive situations. By removing this, the government is making the biggest ever overnight cut to social security and doing so just as fuel, food and energy prices rise.
Of the young women who claimed benefits since March 2020, 69% did so for the first time. The effects of coronavirus are far from over, yet the government has decided to prematurely cut this vital support. Losing this will be devastating and we are hearing from young women who are terrified about the coming winter months. We urge the government to reinstate the Universal Credit uplift at the Autumn Budget and not abandon young women at this crucial time.
“This has been a lifeline, not just for me, but for so many people I know, and I’m scared for everyone on UC to lose this during what are still very difficult times with such an unpredictable winter and future ahead of us.
“The uplift is important because it can make all the difference between being able to eat or paying rent. £20 a week doesn’t sound like it would make an impact but it does.”
“I was already struggling to keep my budget balanced this year after taking a pay cut to secure a new job in the same city (London). I’m struggling to save any money for my future and now will have to make really daunting decisions about whether I can afford to put the heating on and attend regular counselling to support my mental health, both of which are essential for me. ”