Who Benefits? The Difficulties for Women in Making the Transition from Unemployment to Self-employment
This document identifies key issues that discourage women depending on benefits in the UK from graduating to self-employment.
For a significant number of benefit-dependent women, self-employment is attractive as well as necessary. The rigid and complex benefit system is one of the major barriers to setting up a business. In addition, major programs such as New Deal and Work Based Learning for Adults are failing to attract women into self-employment. Key issues deterring benefit-dependent women from considering self-employment include:
- Low levels of initial earnings;
- Inability to cover child care costs;
- Need for flexible working hours;
- Tax credit calculations;
- Difficulties with delays in housing rent support;
- Inability of the benefit system to cope with fluctuating income levels;
- Losing mortgage support and losing secondary benefits.
The government needs to review these issues and increase support to those making the transition from benefits to self-employment. Agencies that provide support to low-income and unemployed women can also help address barriers caused by the current benefit system. Finally, mentoring can provide invaluable support to women transitioning from benefits to self-employment.