A few weeks ago we had a twitter chat about the introduction on Universal Credit  - There were a lot of young mums angry about the fact that young parents under 25 will be entitled to a lower rate than parents over 25. You can read the discussion here:

Anyway, I have now put together a template letter based on my Telegraph article that you can send to your MP! To find out WHO that is just check here!

Now get shouting!!

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Dear [MP’s / Councillor’s name]

As I’m sure you are aware, the introduction of Universal Credit in October 2013 is designed to replace the current in work and out of work benefits and “radically simplify the welfare system to make work pay and combat worklessness and poverty”. However, the analysis in a briefing by Gingerbread and The Children's Society has shown that more single parents will lose than gain after the implementation and the two groups that will lose out substantially could perhaps be considered the most vulnerable: single parents aged under 25 and those who are disabled.

“Under universal credit single parents under the age of 25 will no longer be entitled to receive the higher rate of personal allowance. Instead, they will receive the same rate of allowance as an under-25-year-old without any children. This means that out-of-work single parents between the ages of 18 and 25 will receive £15 per week less than they would under the current system (£780 per year in total)."

This £15 a week reduction in personal allowance for parents under 25 will also affect working single parents who would otherwise receive Working Tax Credits, meaning that in total approximately 240,000 single parent families under 25 will be affected by this change.

The Government’s logic, that a parent under 25 would need less to live on than a parent over 25, makes no sense at all. The number of nappies, the amount of food, the requirement for warmth, etc, are the same for families with parents of all ages. Ultimately, a difference in entitlement based on an arbitrary age appears to encourage discrimination and stigmatisation of younger parents. Many young parents are already affected by other cuts, such as cuts in service provision and reductions in housing benefits. Shouting about access to benefits will never make young parents popular but that shouldn’t mean the Government can get away with caring less about the children of young parents.

All young parents want is equal, fair treatment. It’s important that myths, often perpetuated by the media, about young girls getting pregnant on purpose in order to spend a lifetime on benefits, are dispelled to ensure that others also understand the unfairness of these changes affecting parents under 25. Young parents want others to have high expectations of them, rather than writing them off. Support to move into education and work is vital, and this is what we want to be shouting about, but punishing young parents when they are most vulnerable, by reducing benefits, is not the answer and will only add to risks of isolation, debt, depression and disengagement.

The briefing by Gingerbread and The Children's Society points out that “the Government has acknowledged that changes to personal allowances for under-25s in universal credit will push 100,000 more people into poverty than would otherwise have been the case” yet there seems to be a real lack of awareness or publicity that this is the case.

We therefore ask you to raise awareness of this discrepancy in Universal Credit and challenge the assumption that children of younger parents deserve less.

I do hope you’ll help address this issue and support young parents in getting their voices heard.


Yours Sincerely,

[insert name]