Funding to enable women on low incomes to be financially resilient – both individuals and groups – Smallwood Trust

The Trust runs a range of programmes to support women on low incomes to become financially resilient.

Grants for individuals

Women’s Resilience Fund

  • Time-limited financial assistance and support for women on low income who are struggling to make ends meet or trying to overcome financial problems.

Grants for organisations

Grants for Organisations

  • Funding for women-led and/or women focused third sector organisations and services who are delivering projects locally.

Grants for Policy Initiatives

  • Funding to amplify policy issues and solutions to gender poverty that improve economic outcomes for women, and where the policy work has the potential for practical application.

Our funding will seek to address the following needs: 

  • A sense of financial well-being
  • An ability to cope with adversity
  • An ability to manage finances including debt
  • An ability to cope with unexpected expenditure/crises
  • Access to appropriate jobs, skills and education
  • Building confidence and self-esteem
  • Access to affordable childcare

https://www.smallwoodtrust.org.uk/grants

June 3, 2020

Tens of thousands of women missing out on £100m in state pension uplifts – Pensions Age

Tens of thousands of married older women could be entitled to a higher rate of state pension than they are receiving, analysis by a pensions company has revealed.

The firm (LCP) has highlighted issues around state pension uplifts that are “particularly acute” for older married women who may not realise that they had to put in a claim for a higher pension when their husband turned 65.

The problem affects those women who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 and are covered by the ‘old’ state pension system, under which, married women could claim an enhanced rate of state pension when their husband reached 65 in cases where they only had a small individual state pension entitlement, with parallel rules for widows and divorced women.

At current rates, this can represent as much as £80.45 a week, equivalent to 60 per cent of the full basic state pension rate of £134.25.

Data obtained through a freedom of information requesthas now revealed that “tens of thousands” of married women who are eligible for this rate are not receiving it, with thousands of widows and divorced women also impacted.

According to the firm, the majority of cases are due to individuals failing to actively claim for the uplift, however, it highlighted that some cases reflected the “failure of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) computers” to automatically award the uplift.

Whilst women used to have to claim the additional uplift, a rule change in March 2008 meant that married women on low pensions should have been awarded this 60 per cent rate automatically when their husband turned 65.

However, where women needed to make a claim and do so only belatedly, they can only backdate their claim for 12 months, with any uplift for prior years lost.

Furthermore, thousands of women aged over 80 are thought to be missing out on a further £80.45 pension, which they are entitled to on a non-contributory basis, provided that they satisfy a residency test.

Part of a longer press release at https://www.pensionsage.com/pa/Tens-of-thousands-of-women-missing-out-on-100m-state-pension.php

June 1, 2020

How are mothers and fathers balancing work and family under lockdown? – Institute for Fiscal Studies

The COVID-19 crisis has caused drastic changes to most parents’ work lives and other responsibilities. Millions of adults have lost or are forecast to lose their jobs permanently; many more have stopped work temporarily. Others are newly working from home, while many key workers are experiencing additional pressures and risks in their work. For most parents, school and childcare closures have meant that children are at home, and requiring care, for at least an extra six hours a day.

Although an economic downturn may be inevitable, the effects of COVID-19 and the public health response on the economy as a whole and on specific groups are likely to look very different from those of the economic crises that we are used to. The complete shutdown of certain sectors and the huge increase in households’ care responsibilities are both completely new. And the impacts of these sectoral shutdowns and increases in family responsibilities are likely to look very different for mothers and fathers.

Prior to the crisis hitting, the shut-down sectors disproportionately employed women. And prior to the crisis, mothers typically performed a larger share of childcare and housework than fathers did. This means that, if households continue to divide up domestic responsibilities as they did before, mothers will take on a greater share of the new responsibilities at home and will see a bigger absolute increase in the time they spend on childcare and housework. On the other hand, such a substantial shock to families’ typical arrangements could reshape how families divide paid work and unpaid household responsibilities, with many fathers now at home all day with more exposure to the scale and scope of housework and childcare.

The way that couples divide paid work and household responsibilities during this crisis could have an effect that lasts long after the lockdown is lifted. If, on average, mothers are more likely to step back from paid work during this crisis (either voluntarily or through temporary or permanent job loss) and are more likely to pick up more of the domestic responsibilities, they could face a long-run hit to their earnings prospects. This risks reversing some of the progress that has been made on closing the gender wage gap.

On the other hand, previous evidence suggests that fathers who pick up more household responsibilities (such as childcare) for a limited period of time may do a greater share of them in the longer term. The work culture that relies on the ability of men to do paid work being unaffected by fatherhood may change quickly over this period too, as employers and co-workers may adapt to male employees requiring more flexibility to balance paid work with childcare.

In this report, we examine new data collected since the end of April to investigate how this crisis has affected mothers and fathers in two-parent opposite-gender families. Our survey allows up-to-date insights into the labour market shocks that parents have faced and how parents are balancing their responsibilities under lockdown. In this piece, we focus on how parents divide their time between childcare, housework and paid work, how these arrangements are changing with the lockdown, and the extent to which they vary between men and women.

To read the full findings go to https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14860

  • A podcast featuring researchers who worked on this piece is also available here.

 

June 1, 2020

Women in high-stress jobs more depressed due to rising State Pension age – New research by Institute of Gerontology King’s College London

The harmful mental health consequences of these State Pension Age reforms may have been overlooked, new research finds

A new study published in the journal Health Economics by a team of researchers from the Institute of Gerontology at King’s College London examined the health implications of increases to the State Pension age (SPA) in Britain from age 60 up to age 66 for women born after March 1950. The findings raise concerns about the harmful mental health effects for women in physically and psychosocially strenuous jobs, and the potential health costs of recent pension policy reforms

The paper Later retirement, job strain and health: evidence from the new State Pension age in the UK is the first study on the health effects of recent reforms to SPA for women in Britain. It found that rises in SPA have led to a 30% increase in the probability of depressive symptoms among women working in physically and psychosocially demanding jobs. These are jobs characterised by low control combined with high job demands. About a third of women in the UK work in these jobs, which include those in housekeeping and restaurant services, personal care, sales, cleaning, and machine operation

The researchers call for any future policies to increase the State Pension age to consider preventative strategies targeting the mental health effects of such reforms for women in high stress jobs, and to reflect on the fairness of failing to take into account working conditions as criteria for SPA eligibility

The UK, as most OECD countries, has introduced reforms to raise the State Pension age. These reforms may be necessary for improving the financial sustainability of pension systems, and some workers may benefit from longer working lives. However, blanket increases in the state pension age ignore the fact that some groups of workers face increased exposure to physically or psychologically strenuous working conditions, and therefore face a higher risk of mental and physical health problems– Dr. Ludovico Carrino, Lead Researcher

Our results suggest that, while workers in managerial or professional occupations do not experience worsening health, women in jobs with low control and high levels of demand do experience increased physical and mental health problems, which will contribute to health inequalities. Increasing mental health conditions are likely to lead to increased health-care costs, disability benefit enrolment and service use, while lowering labour market productivity– Professor Mauricio Avendano, Director, Institute of Gerontology

Addressing this challenge may require new ways of thinking about alternative interventions to support workers in high-stress occupations in order to prevent harmful mental health consequences, such as policies that promote flexible working as a way to facilitate the transition to retirement– Professor Karen Glaser, Head of the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine

The researchers employed data from the Understanding Society survey, following a sample of around 3,500 women aged 60 to 64 between 2009 and 2017. By comparing information on individual’s birth and interview date, they were able to classify respondents based on whether they were eligible for the State Pension at the time of interview. The team then compared the mental health of women who were not eligible to receive their State Pension because of changes to the SPA, to the health of women of a similar age and characteristics, who were unaffected by the reform by virtue of their birthdate.

https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/women-in-high-stress-jobs-more-depressed-due-to-rising-state-pension-age

May 18, 2020

Emergency refuge for women fleeing domestic violence opens in Westminster

A first emergency refuge for female victims of domestic abuse fleeing their home during the coronavirus pandemic has been opened in Westminster.

The project, run by crisis charity Hestia, one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London, is the first of its kind to open since Britain was placed into lockdown.

The 12-bed accommodation is funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and comes after downloads of Hestia’s Bright Sky app, for victims and their friends, increased by almost 50 per cent since lockdown began.

The Met Police also recorded a nine per cent rise in domestic abuse incidents compared with the same time period last year.

Aneta Mularczyk, manager of Hestia’s Domestic Abuse Services, said:

“During the Covid-19 lockdown we have seen an increased number of people trying to find support through our Bright Sky app.

“We anticipate a surge in women seeking refuge once lockdown is lifted and more women are able to make contact with specialist support services.

“There has never been a more important time for more refuge spaces than right now.

“We are pleased that Hestia is able, with support from the Mayor of London, to provide a place of safety and support for victims across the city and to help them to rebuild their lives free from violence.”

https://londonnewsonline.co.uk/emergency-refuge-for-women-fleeing-domestic-violence-opens-in-westminster/

See also:

 

May 18, 2020