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Covid-19: Working Parents

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2021

What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on working parents. (914011)

We know that the pandemic has been hard on all families, especially those who have been juggling work and childcare. That is one of the reasons why schools have remained open to the children of key workers throughout this time, and why early years settings have remained open to all since last June. I meet regularly with colleagues across Government to discuss support for families.

Universal credit’s young parent penalty denies single parents under 25 years old the same level of social security as those above that age, pushing those affected—90% of whom are women, and the majority of them in work—into poverty. What representations is the Minister making to her colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions to fix this arbitrary inequality and discriminatory practice in the social security system and to abolish the young parent penalty?

This UK Government have put unprecedented amounts—billions—into support for jobs and incomes, including the £150 million flexible support fund, which helps women access childcare. The billions that the UK has put into supporting jobs, especially for those on low incomes, are yet another reminder of why the people of Scotland increasingly agree that they are better off as part of the UK.