WBG Submission to the Financial Resilience APPG June 2023
Date Posted: Tuesday 13th June 2023
The Women’s Budget Group submitted a response to the Financial Resilience APPG.
The UK economy is continuing to experience significant interlinked shocks with important consequences for living standards, businesses and public finances. Inflation is at the highest level it has been in 40 years, driven mostly by global causes, chief of which is unprecedented high energy costs. Combined with lower-than-inflation wage growth and weakened public services from over a decade of underfunding followed by a global pandemic, women’s financial security is increasingly at risk.
Individual financial autonomy is the best guarantee of financial resilience both in the present and in the future. This is achieved for many people through employment earnings and through adequate social security support. Yet the economic impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis is higher on those on low incomes who are more dependent on public services, spend a higher proportion of their income on essentials and have less savings. The increase in the price of food, energy and transport is having the biggest impact on the poorest households.
Poverty is a gendered phenomenon with women more likely to live in poverty than men. As set out in our 2018 report with Coventry women’s organisations, ‘The Female Face of Poverty’, the position of women in the labour market, the design of social security and women’s roles within the family all contribute to women’s vulnerability to poverty. Due to lower wages and savings, women are less prepared to face the rise in the cost of living. Women’s childcare responsibilities mean that they are less able to increase their hours of work. Women are also the shock absorbers of poverty, going without food and other essentials for themselves to ensure their families needs are met.