Work and Pensions Select Committee holds first hearing on links between welfare reforms and “survival sex”

What do people with no financial resilience at all, not a penny in the bank, do while they’re waiting for 5 weeks…?”  Heidi Allen, MP heard distressing answers to her own question on Wednesday 22 May 2019, when the Work and Pensions Select Committee held their first hearing on the link between Universal Credit and sex work.

The Committee held a closed evidence session (to protect the identities of women involved in sex work) prior to hearing evidence from support services and charities who directly support people who feel they must engage in sex work for living essentials.   

This inquiry follows the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty’s visit to the UK in November 2018. The UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Philip Alston, discussed meeting people who:

“Depend on food banks and charities for their next meal, who are sleeping on friends’ couches because they are homeless and don’t have a safe place for their children to sleep, who have sold sex for money or shelter.

Heidi spoke of the difficulties faced by vulnerable claimants (including sex workers) who try to access Universal Credit and thanked the organisations giving evidence for their support of these individuals.  The Committee continues to hear testimony from individuals claiming Universal Credit and will produce a report on their findings in due course.    

You can view all publications related to the Universal Credit and Survival Sex inquiry, and keep updated with the progress of the inquiry following the link: