Women “hardest hit” by government’s austerity cuts

Women have been the hardest hit by government cuts to social services and welfare, a UN investigation has revealed.

The UN’s Rapporteur into Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Aston found reductions in social care services translate to an increased burden on primary caregivers who are disproportionately women.

Releasing the interim findings of his investigation he pointed to a remarkable gender dimension of many of the Conservative reforms.

He said: “If you had got a group of misogynists in a room, and said “guys, how can we make this system work for me and not for women”, they wouldn’t have come up with too many better ideas than what’s in place”.

The report goes on to note that under Universal Credit, single payments to an entire household may entrench problematic and often gendered dynamics within a couple, including by giving control of the payments to a financially or physically abusive partner.

Changes to the support for single parents also disproportionately affect women, who make up about 90 per cent of single parents, and as of August of this year, two-thirds of Universal Credit recipients who had their benefits capped were single parents.

Single pensioners are also driving the uptick in pensioner poverty, and are significantly more likely to be women.

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