A Welsh Benefits System

Poverty A family sitting on a sofa
ProjectsJanuary 31st, 2019

The support available for low income families can help to lift them out of poverty.

Our project on the Welsh Benefits System aims to develop a coherent and streamlined framework of help in Wales.

Poverty is a significant problem in Wales. Around 700,000 people live in poverty. The social security system provides a vital anchor for people on low incomes.  The primary source of support comes from the UK Government, but local help has been available since the days of the Poor Laws. Devolution has seen the scope for variation to increase significantly. However these sources of support, have not, to date been viewed as part of a broader Welsh Benefits system meaning that it has mostly not been joined up, meaning people on low incomes have to navigate complex paths to help they need.

Why a Welsh Benefits System?

The Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities provide a number of different schemes which complement 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, and creating inefficiency in the system.


The primary aim of our project is to develop an effective, coherent and seamless system of support for people on low incomes that helps to lift them out of poverty.


Project outputs to date include:


Our findings have received extensive media coverage including on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, ITV Wales and the Western Mail.

We were delighted that the National Assembly for Wales Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s report adopted our recommendations and that the Welsh Government has accepted them in principle.


This project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as part of our work on solving poverty in Wales


July 2019 to June 2020


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