In response to a new report from Fair by Design, The Inequality of Poverty [PDF] Joe Levenson, Director of Communications and Campaigns at Young Women’s Trust said:
“Many young women are being hit twofold by loss of income due to the coronavirus crisis and a poverty premium, where those who can least afford it are also paying more for essential services.
As well as entrenching inequalities this is plunging many young women, especially single parents and those with disabilities or long-term health conditions into dire financial circumstances. Our research has found that young women were already struggling to get by before the coronavirus crisis and since then over 1.5 million have suffered a loss of income, with 69% of young women claiming benefits in the past year doing so for the first time.
As the country seeks to recover economically from Covid-19 we must not lose a key opportunity to address these inequalities. This important research makes a compelling case for a better regulated system that works for the most vulnerable, as well as better data collection on protected characteristics and wider use of Equality Impact Assessments.
We’d like to see the socio-economic duty brought forward in the Equality Act 2010, as it has been in Scotland and will be in Wales from the 31 March 2021. In the immediate term, regulators of essential services can still follow the principle of the duty, and approach the fair treatment of individuals through the lens of socio-economic inequalities.
Without such measures which safeguard people when accessing essential services, we risk deepening inequality, accepting a discriminatory system and pushing young women and other vulnerable groups further into poverty.”