We were pleased to see the Chancellor acknowledge the need to address the cost of living crisis in today’s Spring Statement. For women and families subjected to and at risk of abuse and violence, the rising cost of living reduces their protective factors and risks making them destitute. Whilst we recognise the cut in fuel duty for the next year, the cut in income tax and the rise in the threshold for paying National Insurance Contributions, these are not the most effective way to support those at the sharpest end of the crisis.
Strengthening the social security system would benefit those most impacted the cost of living emergency. We needed the Chancellor to go further. He should have lifted the benefit cap which disproportionately impacts women with children making them more vulnerable to abuse; restored the Universal Credit uplift; and increased all other benefits at least in line with inflation. To support traumatised victims made homeless as a result of rape the Government should also expand the exemption to the shared accommodation rate to include victims of sexual violence aged under 35.
At Solace and across our sector, we are still seeing higher levels of need for our domestic abuse and sexual violence services than before the pandemic yet there was nothing in today’s statement for survivors of male violence against women or the services that support them. The measures announced today to address the cost of living crisis will do little to help women we work with regain their economic independence and recover from abuse.
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