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Support Schemes for Low Income Families

January 31st 2019

The support available for low income families has a significant impact on their likelihood of living in poverty. This project sets out to better understand how that support is made available in Wales.

Poverty is a significant problem in Wales. 720,000 people, that’s 1 in every 4, live in poverty. One of the key factors that has an impact on the number of people living in poverty is the support that is made available to those on low income through the social security system. Whilst the primary source of support for people living on low incomes in Wales comes from the UK Government, a form of regional variation has been present in the UK with regards to how this support is provided since the Poor Laws. Devolution has seen the scope for such regional variation increase significantly. This could have important implications for how those living in poverty in Wales are supported by the social security system.

Why focus on Welsh and local support?

The Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities provide a number of different schemes of support for people on low incomes in Wales. The aim of these schemes is to complement the support people receive from the UK Government through Universal Credit or legacy benefits. These schemes range from the provision of free school meals to discretionary housing payments.

At present, each of these schemes is viewed as discrete from each other, meaning that claimants often have to make multiple claims to receive all of the additional Welsh support they are entitled to. We suspect that as a result of this, a number of those living in poverty in Wales do not know the full extent of the support they are entitled to from the Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities, meaning that families could be missing out on vital support.

What is the project seeking to achieve?

The primary aim of our project is to gain a better understanding of the support that is available for people living on low income in Wales, and to identify what are the issues facing individuals when they seek to gain access to this support. If we uncover any issues with the current system, we will consider, what amendments could be made to make the system work more effectively for those living on low incomes and to provide a solution to poverty in Wales.


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