One in four people in Wales living in poverty, report warns

Almost a quarter of people living in Wales are trapped in poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

In a new report published today (7 March), the Foundation warns poverty is on the rise across Wales among pensioners, single people and couples with children, while progress on child poverty has stalled.

The report blames a combination of rising living costs, cuts to working age benefits and poor quality jobs, which it claims has led to an increased risk of living in poverty for families both in and out of work.

According to the report, 710,000 people in Wales are now living in poverty – including 185,000 children, 405,000 working-age adults and 120,000 pensioners.

Wales also continues to have a larger proportion of its population living in poverty than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In order to tackle this growing problem, the Foundation has called on the Welsh Government to ensure the economic works better for low-income families, with more support to help people find work and progress in their chosen careers.

The report also calls for more affordable homes to be built and more childcare is made available, so more people can balance care and work.

The chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Campbell Robb, said: ‘We share a moral responsibility to make sure everyone has a decent standard of living and the same chances in life.

‘Low-paid, unstable jobs, rising living costs and insufficient benefits mean that many people in Wales are locked in a daily struggle to make ends meet. Poverty restricts the choices people can make, leaving families in impossible situations like choosing either to heat their home or pay their rent.

‘We urge politicians in Cardiff Bay and Westminster to work with businesses to redesign the job and housing markets so they work better for those people living in the most deprived areas of Wales,’ added Mr Robb.

‘Loosening the grip of poverty on the lives of low-income families is crucial to the success of the Welsh Government’s prosperity agenda. Change is possible.’

The director of the Bevan Foundation, Victoria Winckler, added: ‘This report shows that too many households in Wales are really struggling to make ends meet. The stress and hardship of not having enough to live on blights people’s lives, whether they’re children or pensioners, and costs the public purse dearly.

‘The Welsh Government have made a very welcome commitment to “prosperity for all’, so we hope that they will take steps to make it a reality for the 700,000 people in poverty today.’

To read the full report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, click here.


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