WOMEN AND UNIVERSAL CREDIT

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Conference
2022 Virtual National Women's Conference
Date
15 October 2021
Decision
Carried

69% of low paid or insecure jobs are held by women. Women are the majority of people living in poverty and female headed households are poor – these constitute 90% of lone parent households, 45% of which are living in poverty. (Fawcett Society)

Conference notes and condemns the removal of the £20 per week pandemic-related uplift to Universal Credit by the Conservative government, despite the continuation of the pandemic and the increases to fuel prices, the shortages due to supply chain problems, and the likely rise in general prices and costs caused by this.

While £20 per week may not seem a lot to someone in full time work, if it is thought of as £100 over a five week month, the scale of the cut becomes more obvious – this is a month’s fuel cost, or a supermarket shop for a family.

Many of our women members in low paid work either full or part time are recipients of Universal Credit. Many of these will be our members working in the lowest paid roles in care homes, hospitals, council services etc. Also, in many families most of the responsibility in managing family finances devolves upon women, particularly mothers. These are the people who will have to make the ”heat or eat” decisions because their benefit has been slashed.

Add to this the rapid and extreme price increases in electricity, gas and fuel, and the shortages of consumer goods, and it may feel like the build up of a “perfect storm” for our lowest paid women members, many of whom are also in high risk front line jobs during the pandemic.

This cannot continue:

Conference calls upon:

1)The National Womens Committee (NWC) to work with the wider Union, and through them, the TUC, to campaign on the destructive impact of the removal of the uplift on women low paid workers, who are disproportionately represented in Universal Credit claimants, and for its restoration.

2)The NWC to work with Labour Link to encourage Labour MP’s in Parliament to vigorously pursue the reinstatement of the cut, and a review of the impact of Universal Credit on women and families.

3)The NWC to produce information on other sources of help for women with financial difficulties, such as There For You, regional debt and money advice services.