We are calling on the government not to cut Universal Credit this September. This month, 3 young women met with Will Quince MP in his position as Minister for Welfare delivery, to explain just how vital the £20 a week uplift has been for them. In this blog, Freya, Mattea and Pippa speak about their experience and how you are never too small to raise your voice.
We met with Mr Quince recently to discuss the removal of the £20 a week benefit uplift implemented during the Covid-19 pandemic. I did enter the meeting expecting to be met with dismissal, perhaps even derision, but instead the ensuing conversation was a very pleasant one. I felt listened to, understood and respected. Mr Quince evidently considered the points put forward by myself, Mattea, and Freya and provided reasoned responses after hearing us speak. Although we did not receive the answer we had hoped for, this was still a very valuable experience. I was able to voice my concerns, opinions, and thoughts for future campaigns. The most important thing I took away from our meeting was that it is always worth speaking up and making oneself be heard. You are never too small to raise your voice and stand up for what you believe in, and your ideas deserve a platform.
It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet with Will Quince and his team, representing Young Women’s Trust and the young women we have interviewed through our peer research. All the young women at the meeting had very different but equally interesting and valid points to raise with Will in regards to the £20 Universal Credit uplift.
I spoke about how if Universal Credit is about supporting people while they get into stable employment, upskill themselves and invest in their future then surely these people should be focusing on bettering themselves and their situation… Not working out which bills they can afford to pay, or how to survive off rice and ramen. That £20 a week may seem minimal to some people, but there wouldn’t be such a unanimous and desperate reaction to this if it wasn’t a lifeline to thousands of people — particularly society’s most vulnerable people like young women and disabled people.
It was great to see that Will was taking notes throughout, and asked some relevant questions inspired by what we had said. He said that if Young Women’s Trust (or other organisations) could come up with an idea that might be more feasible in focusing on what certain groups of people need, then he would definitely bring it to the Treasury for discussion. I felt that it was a good sign he was open to an alternative scheme of extra income for certain groups of people receiving Universal Credit, even if the current outcome of planned cuts isn’t what we were aiming for.
After meeting with Will Quince about the £20 a week uplift for Universal Credit, which has been such a lifeline for me and many others, I felt empowered because I spoke about something that is important. Universal Credit is something I have campaigned on alongside Young Women’s Trust since I first joined them. I felt proud that I spoke up about the reality of it all, not just for myself but for the others that can’t. I am thankful not only for the experience, as it’s not often you get to speak to an MP, but to Will Quince for listening to us. I hope that my final question “What would you have to miss out on if you lost 6% of your earnings a month?” leaves Will with something to think about.
Here at Young Women’s Trust we’re doing all we can to make the government change its mind. Please will you help us make a strong case to the government by emailing the Chancellor today to urge him to change his mind?