UK Policy Briefings
Household Debt, Gender and Covid-19
Date Posted: Monday 23rd November 2020
- 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 lockdown, furlough scheme and inadequate social security system has caused widespread financial hardship, unemployment and debt:
- A third of households have reported a fall income, 6 million people have fallen behind on at least one household bill, 3.8 million have borrowed to make ends meet since the beginning of lockdown.
- Covid-debt interacts with gender inequality: 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, 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, exploring debt relief and, prioritising well-paid secure work.