Caroline Bernard, Director of Communications at Young Women’s Trust said
“The Chancellor spoke today of an ‘age of optimism’, yet this does not resemble the situation facing many young women going into this winter.
“Whilst we welcome the Chancellor’s 8% cut to the taper rate of Universal Credit, this does not go nearly far enough to filling the gap left by the cut to the £20 uplift earlier this month and leaves out those who are unable to work. Young women told us that the uplift was a lifeline, helping them to afford medications, feed their children, buy period products and remove themselves from abusive situations. The measures introduced today are no substitute for this and we are hearing from young women who are terrified about the coming winter months. We urge the Government to reconsider as we head further into the winter.
“We are pleased to see the increase in the National Living Wage to £9.50. Although it falls short of the £10 we have been calling for, we are encouraged by the increase and hope the Government will review this very soon to support young women who are juggling rising fuel, food and energy prices.
“The Government has recommitted to their plan for jobs, which is positive news. This should see investment in areas of low employment and crucially in areas where young women can work locally, to avoid them having to pay unaffordable travel costs.
“The investment in childcare announced today is welcome, yet it fails to outline how the system will be made affordable. Currently childcare is so expensive that it is a barrier for young women accessing work. We need to see urgent investment and reform of the childcare infrastructure so that young women with children are not locked out of opportunities.
“If the Chancellor wants to achieve his goal of building a strong economy, he must prioritise young women, so that no young woman is left behind.”
Notes to editors
- Young Women’s Trust is a feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for young women. Our Work It Out coaching service supports young women to make plans for the future. We campaign for young women’s equality in the workplace and our research examines what young women’s lives are really like.
- Earlier this month, Young Women’s Trust launched a petition calling on the Government to reinstate the £20 uplift to Universal Credit; extend the uplift to legacy benefits, including the carer’s allowance and increase the National Living Wage to at least £10 an hour. The petition remains open and can be found here: Don’t leave young women out in the cold this winter