UK Policy Briefings
Spring Budget 2021: Household debt, gender and Covid-19
Date Posted: Monday 1st March 2021
- Before the coronavirus pandemic women, especially low-paid, disabled and Black, Asian and ethnic minority women, were more likely than men to be in debt: 61% of those getting into debt to purchase everyday necessities are women.
- Early warnings signs suggest that the lockdowns and inadequate social security system has caused widespread financial hardship, unemployment and debt.
- By the end of 2020, a third of households had reported a fall income, 6 million people had fallen behind on at least one household bill, and 17% of the population had borrowed more or used credit as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Covid-debt is gendered: 30% of women report being negatively affected financially by the pandemic compared with 26% of men.
- Mothers, lone parents, BAME women, young and disabled women are most at risk. For example, in April 2020, a quarter of BAME mothers reported that they were struggling to feed their children and 32% of young women reported finding it hard to pay for essentials.
The Government must take short-term and long-term action to alleviate poverty and hardship by suspending restriction in the social security system, increasing hardship funding, providing debt relief and, prioritising well-paid secure work.