Response to Spending Round – young women need more from Government

Wednesday 4 September 2019

parliamentThe Chancellor of the Exchequer in today’s Spending Round announced: 

  • £66 million in additional funding for increasing the hourly rate paid to providers delivering the Government’s free childcare offer;
  • a national infrastructure strategy to come later this year, aiming to boost productivity, as part of a pledge that infrastructure would be the Chancellor’s priority; and
  • the end of austerity, which will see every Government department receiving funding increases at least in line with inflation. 

Responding, Young Women’s Trust chief executive Sophie Walker said: 

“Today’s announcements will do little to reverse the devastating impact of years of austerity and gender-blind policy-making on young women. We’re long past needing to end the cuts to services on which young women disproportionately rely and urgently need to invest in equal opportunities for so many who have been left behind. 

“More than a million young women are struggling on low or no pay, barred from workplaces and discriminated against because of their sex. They are being pushed into unpaid care work, denied apprenticeships and training or offered zero hours contracts below minimum pay. They are telling us their finances are in trouble, their debt levels are rising and their mental health is suffering as their hope for the future fades. It is little wonder young women tell us too that they have lost faith in politicians. 

“The Chancellor announced a commitment to national infrastructure and boosting productivity, including a new strategy later this year. But unless the new strategy includes a focus on young women’s role in the economy, long-term investment in childcare and broader social infrastructure, it will continue to benefit only half of the population – to everyone’s disadvantage. 

“Young women are the answer to the UK’s skills and productivity gaps. They are ready to be the talented, skilled workforce we need. They want to do equal work of equal value. We must give them the support to do so. Economic equality for women is vital for a functioning and fair society. And the first step is economic equality for young women.” 

ENDS 

Notes to editor: 

  1. Young Women’s Trust supports and represents women aged 18-30 in England and Wales trapped by low or no pay and facing a life of poverty. The charity provides services and runs campaigns to make sure that the talents of young women don't go to waste.
  2. All figures unless otherwise stated are based on findings from a survey carried out for Young Women’s Trust by Populus Data Solutions. A representative sample of 4,025 18-30 year olds in England and Wales, with panel services provided by Populus Live, were surveyed between 25 June and 11 July 2019. The survey shows that:
    1. 69 per cent of young women said that their confidence in politicians had got worse over the last 12 months, 21 per cent that it had stayed the same and 2 per cent that it had got better.
    2. 60 per cent of young women feel ignored by politicians, rising to 70 per cent among young women with a disability or a long-term mental or physical health condition.
    3. 72 percent of young women aged between 18 and 24 said they had less confidence in politicians than this time last year.
  3. Young Women’s Trust’s “It’s (Still) a Rich Man’s World” report in 2018 showed that one in five young women had been offered less than the minimum wage they were entitled; had been paid less than male colleagues who did similar work; were reliant on their parents to help them make money last until the end of the month. 44 percent of young women said they were worried about their mental health and over half of those surveyed said they felt worried for the future.
  4. The same report found that more than 800,000 young women have been sexually harassed at work and have not reported it because they are too worried to do so in case they lost their job or suffered reduced working hours. 

To request an interview with Sophie Walker, or for more information on Young Women’s Trust’s policy recommendations, surveys or case studies, please contact Bex Bailey at bex.bailey@youngwomenstrust.org or on 020 7837 2019.

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