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New report signals tough year ahead for Wales

January 2nd 2018

2018 is set to be more challenging than ever.

Tough times ahead for Wales

Our latest report, published today, warns that Wales faces unprecedented challenges in the year ahead.

The report is based on expert forecasts for the next 12 months on the economy, standard of living, public services and politics, and follows another we published two years ago, which anticipated many of the current challenges facing the country: the flatlining economy, a rise in poverty rates and Brexit.

Director of the Bevan Foundation, Victoria Winckler, says:

“The Welsh Government, local authorities and many businesses and charities are making very real efforts to address the challenges facing Wales, but the progress that many would like to see is minimal and in some cases, such as child poverty, we are going backwards.”

The economy shows few signs of improving. It forecasts that Wales’ anticipated GDP growth will be better than in Scotland, Northern Ireland and some English regions, but it won’t be enough to narrow the gap between Wales and the UK average. Likewise, the modest increase predicted in UK employment is unlikely to boost those parts of Wales where unemployment stands well above the UK average. Nor is it likely to help the 13.1% of young adults out of work.

It’s predicted that inflation will wipe out any real-term earnings growth, and there will also be changes to how benefits are paid with the roll out of Universal Credit ‘full service’. Relative poverty could well rise to 27% for people of all ages and to around 40% for children as people’s standard of living is squeezed further.

On top of this, political uncertainty is likely to continue, along with more budget cuts and increased demand for public services.

It makes for quite depressing reading. But the Foundation has some ambitious plans in place to combat the consequences. Victoria explains:

“Our goal is to reduce poverty in Wales to 10% by 2030 and ensure 400,000 more people are living a life free of poverty. We’re doing this by developing innovative solutions to Wales’ problems and inspiring people in power to take action. We invite any individuals or organisations interested in discussing the report or sharing their ideas to get in touch.”

The Foundation is holding a lunchtime discussion this Friday (5th January) on the findings.. If you’d like to attend , please book your ticket before they sell out.

Read the full report ‘Tough Times Ahead? What 2018 might hold for Wales’

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