RED ALERT – Don’t let Universal Credit bypass women

Benefit changes- From the purse to the wallet

The Universal Credit is one of the Coalition Government’s flagship policies, aiming to consolidate benefits and tax credits into one single payment, thereby reducing complexity and administration. It will replace previous forms of assistance that have previously been paid to the ‘main carer’ for children in a household, 95% of whom are women.

The whole Universal Credit payment will most likely be paid to the main earner of a household. There is widespread concern that this new system will have a disproportionate affect on women in low income families, restricting their financial freedom by reducing the ability to access an income of their own. According to the Women’s Budget Group, each partner having some income is likely to lead to a more equal and balanced relationship. This is particularly important for women, who are more likely to suffer economic abuse.

Take Action: Call on your MP to lobby the government to change the allocation of the Universal Credit so that it can be split between couples using the letter here.

Take Action: Write your MP to ask for a Gender Impact Assessment on the benefit welfare reforms. This means that your MP would ask the Department for Work and Pensions to research the effect that their policies would have on women and assess how that compares to the effect they have on men. You can use this template letter.

To find out how to contact your MP, click here.

If you get a response from your MP, please let us know at admin@workingforwalthamstow.org.uk

Thank you for sending this message- if you want to help promote this campaign please enter your details here and we will put you in touch with others interested in working together:

These campaign ideas have been developed by people at workshops in Westminster this September and in Cardiff in November. What does the grid mean?

UC to women

gender impact assessment

Background brief: Why are we campaigning on this issue?

The Universal Credit is one of the Coalition Government’s flagship policies, aiming to consolidate benefits and tax credits into one single payment, thereby reducing complexity and administration. It will replace previous forms of assistance including income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.  Many of these have previously been paid to the ‘main carer’ for children in a household.

Quick facts:

  • Currently, 95% of households have a female designated as the main carer, who are in receipt of all child- and care-related benefits
  • In the 2012 Budget speech, the Chancellor said that, in order not to have to increase the cuts in other departments’ real expenditure, he would have to cut a further £10 billion from what he called ‘welfare’ spending by 2016/17.
  • Research by Ward-Batts and by Lundberg, Pollack and Wales finds “strong evidence” that more money was spent on women’s and children’s goods when Child Benefit payments were changed to be paid to mothers, rather than fathers, due to the “apparent tendency of mothers to allocate more of the family budget to children’s goods”
  • According to the Women’s Budget Group, each partner having some income is likely to lead to a more equal and balanced relationship. This is particularly important for women, who are more likely to suffer economic abuse.
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