Independent: Women doing sex work to survive due to roll-out of universal credit, MPs fear

‘There are a number of people participating in survival sex so they can feed their families or prevent loan sharks with baseball bats coming round to enforce debts,’ says Frank Field

Maya Oppenheim Women’s Correspondent @mayaoppenheim

Women may be turning to sex work as a means to survive due to changes to welfare policy and the rollout of universal credit, MPs have warned.

The Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the extent of the issue and called for people to come forward with evidence about a potential link between universal credit and sex work.

The rollout of universal credit has been plagued by controversy, with warnings people are being pushed into debt, rent arrears and reliance on food banks due to delays in payments.

Frank Field, an independent MP who chairs the committee, said: “There are a number of people participating in survival sex so they can feed their families or prevent loan sharks with baseball bats coming round to enforce debts.

“I am shocked we live in a country where this actually happens. My head tells me that I should not be surprised, because it is difficult to survive on the money you have got with universal credit, let alone when it is taken away.”

Mr Field, who has held his Birkenhead seat for nearly 40 years, said the government “would be fools” not to take the problem seriously.