Friday, May 6, 2022

Women have borne the brunt of increasing poverty over the past 10 years

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New figures show that women have been “brutally exposed” to the cost of living crisis as they have been disproportionately hit by rising poverty over the past decade.

Data shared exclusively with LatestPageNewsshowed that from 2010-11 to 2019-20 the proportion of people living in relative poverty increased by almost 1.5 million.

An analysis of Department for Works and Pensions statistics, conducted by Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s shadow women and equality secretary, found that women accounted for almost 890,000 of that number.

That accounts for around 60 per cent of the total, despite the fact that women make up 51 per cent of the UK population.

Researchers said more than 7.5 million women across the UK now live in relative poverty – almost a quarter of all women living in the country.

Around 6.8 million men are in the same situation, meaning that 14.4 million people live in relative poverty – equivalent to 22 per cent of the UK population. Relative poverty is defined as a household income that is 50 percent below the average.

Ms Dodds said: “Conservatives have spent a decade impoverishing women and brutally exposing them to the cost of living crisis that is engulfing Britain today.

“The government’s own statistics show that women are less likely than men to cope with a surge in bills, so we urgently need action from ministers to help them cope. Instead, the Prime Minister and Chancellor are too busy saving their own skins.”

Ms Dodds warned the Conservative Party not to let women down as she declared “Labour is on her side”.

She added: “That’s why we are calling for an emergency budget to help the millions of women who are bearing the brunt of this crisis, with an unexpected tax on oil and gas companies to cut energy bills by up to £600 for the neediest households – many of them are led by women.

“And Labor’s new deal for workers will empower millions of women in the workplace, with stronger family-friendly rights, equal pay comparisons between employers and measures to tackle workplace harassment.”

Ms Dodds’ office warned women who now face shouldering the burden of the Conservative government’s failure to address the cost of living crisis – with data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing women are often less likely to be in feel able to cope with a sudden increase in bills than men.

The ONS Cost of Living Survey found around three in 10 women said their household could not afford an unexpected £850 payment, while around a quarter of men said so. Labor argues this means 1.6 million more women than men feel unable to make the extra payment.

The Labor Party predicts that soaring prices for taxes, mortgages, energy, food and petrol will mean that family finances are drained by an average of £2,620 a year – with Labor Party leader Keir Starmer calling for an emergency budget to cover the to cover living expenses crisis.

It comes after research from last year found women living in the north of England have been disproportionately hit by the recession triggered by the pandemic.

Researchers at IPPR North found that nearly half of the North’s current employed women work in sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus emergency, such as retail and hospitality. In a sharp comparison, men in these sectors only make up around a quarter of the workforce.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “We know the cost of living is under pressure which is why we are spending £22billion over the next financial year to support people across the country.

“In 2020/21 there were two million fewer people in absolute poverty by housing cost than in 2009/10 and we are building on that by putting £1,000 more a year into the pockets of working families on Universal Credit.

“We’ve also raised the minimum wage for full-time employees and expanded our household support fund to help families with basic necessities.”

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