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Latest poverty figures a wakeup call

March 28th 2019

Wales’ most influential and innovative think-tank, the Bevan Foundation, is calling for renewed efforts to solve poverty after the latest statistics show no progress in reducing poverty in Wales.

The Bevan Foundation has labelled the poverty figures a ‘wakeup call’ for the Welsh Government, local authorities and businesses alike. The statistics, released on March 28th 2019, show that no real progress has been made in reducing poverty in the last twelve months. Today approximately a quarter of the population live in families on poverty-level incomes, unchanged from the previous year.

Over half of low-income families living in poverty between 2015-16 to 2017-18 lived in working households. The Bevan Foundation believes that this raises important questions about the approaches that have been taken in Wales to end poverty.

Dr Victoria Winckler, Director of the Bevan Foundation said:

“With unemployment falling and employment at record levels, we would expect to see poverty levels in Wales reduce. Yet low wages, short or uncertain hours of work and poor prospects mean that work does not guaranteed a family will escape poverty.”

There is much that can be done to solve poverty in Wales. Decent work, which pays the real Living Wage and offers secure hours, with the solutions lying in the hands of the Welsh public, private and third sector organisations. A fair social security system, to support people when they need it, also matters. And keeping the cost of living down, with affordable rents, childcare, heating and food, makes a difference too.

Dr Steffan Evans, Policy & Research Officer at the Bevan Foundation, added:

“The new First Minister’s commitment to ending child poverty is very welcome. These new figures today serve as an urgent reminder, however, that there is much to be done if we are to successfully achieve this aim. Now is a time for action if we do not want to see the number of people living in poverty increase further in future years.”

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