It is a shocking – but sadly unsurprising – statistic that “one in four households struggles to eat well regularly” (Report, 31 March). Young Women’s Trust research shows that half of the mums under the age of 25 have to skip meals to feed their children, and a quarter have used food banks. This is not just about “eating well”: this is the most basic form of poverty, and it’s having a devastating impact on young families. It is less astonishing when you consider that those under the age of 25 are not entitled to the national living wage and receive lower benefits; from tomorrow, 18- to 21-year-olds will have their housing benefit removed.
Young mums have told us that they need better support from jobcentres, cheaper childcare, and flexible and part-time working opportunities to help them to find jobs and provide for their families. Now is not the time to be removing support for these young people, but to be helping them to build a fair financial future.
Dr Carole Easton
Chief executive, Young Women’s Trust
• Stuart Gale makes the point that gluten-free food is now in all major supermarkets (Letters, 30 March). True, but at what cost? Coeliac UK has established that the price of a staple gluten-free foodstuff such as bread can be up to four times that of a standard loaf. There is a genetic element to coeliac disease, so one family can be burdened with the extra cost of feeding several members gluten-free products, a considerable burden. A different, non-prescription route to easing the cost – perhaps a voucher system – might be worth exploring, but just terminating all financial help seems inequitable.
Coeliac disease is not a “minor ailment”. It is a life-long autoimmune condition.
• Join the debate – email firstname.lastname@example.org
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters