The roll out of the extremely controversial Universal Credit system has been a significant concern for the women we work with and who use the services of the women’s sector. EVAW (End Violence against Women Coalition) recently reported on a new briefing from the Women’s Budget Group quoting one member who stated “more money may go straight into the wallet and not in the purse, leaving women and children with no income.”. The Department for Work and Pensions has considered this issue warning that the payment of the single benefit to one named member of the household could put claimants living with domestic abuse at risk of harm.
Heidi Allen MP and committee member has been very vocal about this saying that it is something that must be urgently addressed by appointing domestic violence officers who violence against women victims can ask to split the payments. If a woman was experiencing domestic abuse then a request to split the payments is likely to aggravate the perpetrator and place her at greater risk of abuse.
Frank Field MP stated in the debate that the current payment of Universal Credit has the potential to put women back into the same position they were in the 1950s where men were expected to control all of the family income and budget stating that this is out of step with modern life in terms of turning the clock back decades on equal opportunities for women.