Press release: Young mums urge political leaders to commit to ending age discrimination in benefits
Ahead of the UK Government Autumn Statement, charities around the UK and the young mums they support have written to party leaders to urge them to commit to ending the discriminatory policy of paying under 25s a lower rate of social security than those over 25.
Under the UK Government’s Universal Credit, young couple parents are around £120 worse off per month (£1,440 a year) and single parents are around £75 off a month (£900 a year) worse off than over 25s.
This, according to campaigners, is having a very detrimental impact on babies and children in a young parent family.
The campaign – started by charity One Parent Families Scotland – is backed by 81 organisations, including the End Child Poverty coalition, Child Poverty Action Group, Save the Children, Action for Children, Turn2Us, The Equality Trust, Pregnant Then Screwed, and BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service)
Letter from young mums to UK party leaders
Ahead of the UK Chancellor's Autumn Statement, young mums supported by OPFS in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Lanarkshire wrote to all UK party leaders, urging them to scrap the policy of paying under 25s less in Universal Credit than people over 25.
- Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty Coalition Coordinator
Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty Coalition Coordinator, said:
“We know that life is hard for all parents on low incomes, and yet at the moment life is made even harder for young parents under 25, who – simply because of their age – receive less financial support.
“The young parents we work with tell us that this means they are often forced to make impossible choices such as paying for food or paying to heat their homes. This is an illogical policy decision and needs to be reversed immediately to ensure that young parents and their children are treated the same as older parents.”
Young mothers supported by One Parent Families Scotland local services in three different local authority areas in Scotland have written a letter to all UK party leaders, calling on them to end age discrimination in Universal Credit and provide young parents with the same level of support as parents over 25.
The letter, written by young parents in Edinburgh, Glasgow and North Lanarkshire says:
“We were shocked and disgusted to find out that we, as younger parents, have been discriminated against because of our age. Because of our age, we get £75 less in Universal Credit than single parents over 25. It’s as if people in power are saying they don’t care and that we don’t matter as much as older parents. We feel like we’re being told we are worth less and our kids don’t deserve the same things as kids who have older parents.”
“We are proud to be parents. We had our kids when we were young but that doesn’t make us any less of a good parent as someone older than us. We have had to grow up a lot faster. Many of our friends spend their money and time going out. We would always rather spend time with our kids.
“Please don’t discriminate against us. We are parents, all children deserve the best start in life.”
Being a young mum
Emma* is a single parent. She was estranged from her family after being abused as a child. She is now an End Child Poverty Coalition Youth Ambassador and speaks about the impact receiving a lower rate of benefits has had on her life as a young single parent.
- End Child Poverty Youth Ambassador,
Campaigners are continuing to direct their calls at the UK Government to scrap the unfair policy of providing young people with less financial support, but with a general election fast approaching, they also want to see other party leaders take action to support young parent families by committing to reverse the Department of Work and Pension’s discriminatory policy.
Single parent and End Child Poverty Coalition Youth Ambassador Emma* said:
“I got estranged from my family and I was severely abused as a child. Growing up by myself has been extremely hard. I have a young daughter who’s one and providing for both our needs is a struggle. I find it hard to provide the basic needs of nappies due to her allergies. These can cost me up to £24 a week. I only get £262 Universal Credit for her.
“I receive £291 for myself as I’m under 25. I live by myself with no other financial or physical help. My gas and electric on its own is £150. I’m struggling to survive. If I received an extra income of £75 a month, I’d be able to stress a little less and be a little happier.
“Childcare is so expensive I wouldn’t be able to afford to work by myself even if I was on higher than minimum wage. Young parents like me have the same costs as parents over 25.”
Satwat Rehman, Chief Executive of One Parent Families Scotland, said:
“Children with mothers under 25 face a staggering rate of child poverty – more than double the rate for all children.
“The Westminster government’s decision to deny young parents the same level of social security as older parents penalises children. Workers based in our local services across Scotland tell us young families are being pushed to crisis point, with large numbers needing to turn to foodbanks because of the inequality in financial support. Young parents also face considerable barriers to getting into work, particularly work which pays enough to remove the need for social security, such as lower educational qualifications and work experience and a lack of affordable, flexible childcare.
“We know that supporting these families when they need it most can have a lifelong impact. We are asking members of the public to write to their MP urge the UK Government to change its policy. about the issue and bring an to end age discrimination in Universal Credit by writing to their MP about the issue to More information on this can be found on the OPFS website.”