The Chancellor must put emergency measures in place for young women

Friday 20 March 2020

Statement from Sophie Walker, ahead of the Number 10 press briefing this afternoon:

“Ahead of the Chancellor’s statement this evening, Young Women's Trust is urgently calling for a comprehensive package of emergency measures to be put in place to halt the injustice and anxiety currently being experienced by millions of women across the country, who are facing growing strains and financial hardship.  

“If young women and their families are to survive this crisis, parental leave payments must be introduced for those who are forced out of work due to school closures. Even before the corona crisis hit, one in four mums under 25 were skipping meals every day to make ends meet - more for those relying on Universal Credit - so food vouchers for free school meals must be set at a level for them to buy the food they need for their children.  

“Statutory sick pay must also be increased to an amount that workers can live on and be extended to all workers, including those who are self-employed or on low pay and who aren't currently eligible. 

“The Government must also act decisively to stop the endless wait for economically vulnerable young women to receive Universal Credit and sanctions must be indefinitely suspended too. The economic impact of coronavirus will hit all age groups, and so under 25s must become entitled to benefits paid at the same level as over 25s. 

“We are also calling on the Government to ensure that young women who can no longer afford their rent receive immediate financial support rather than risking homelessness in the future, or ever-increasing debt. It is also vital for the government to provide additional funds for domestic abuse services, with a particular understanding of the risks of economic abuse and coercive control during periods of increased financial pressures and social isolation.

"We note that the government's emergency committee currently includes no women. It is simply essential that women be at the top table during the coronavirus crisis and decision making.  As women take on even more vital front-line roles in this pandemic - caring for children and loved ones, teaching and in healthcare and social care - all while being more likely to be on more precarious contracts or in low paid work, it is more important than ever that women’s voices are heard in Number 10 and beyond.”