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Inquiry into Covid-19 impact on low income households

July 2nd 2020

We were pleased to contribute our views to the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s inquiry.

In our evidence, Steffan Evans stressed that poverty was an issue prior to Covid-19 with 700,000 people living in poverty in Wales. He also emphasised that the drivers of poverty remain unchanged, but the following issues have been exacerbated by the crisis:

  • Work is not providing people with a decent income
  • The social security system is inadequate
  • High living costs

Steffan went onto outline some of the actions Welsh Government could take to help those low income households now and in the future:

Lobby UK Government:

  • To be cautious as they end furlough
  • Provide an extra £20 for the Child Element of UC and Child Tax Credits

At the Welsh level:

  • Promote fair work and better pay through procurement contracts
  • take action on Welsh Benefits by establishing a Welsh Benefits System and improving schemes such as making all children who live in families who receive Universal Credit eligible for Free School Meals
  • Investing in new social housing as we recover from the pandemic.

Claire Thomas discussed the impact of Covid-19 on migrants, particularly those who find themselves in low paid, insecure forms of employment and who work in sectors which have been hardest hit by Covid-19. Many will be faced with extreme financial hardship, in particular those who currently have No Recourse to Public Funding (NRPF).

Claire called on the Welsh Government to improve the communication with migrant communities to ensure they are fully aware of their rights and the types of support they are able to access and also provide training to frontline staff so they have the awareness and knowledge to provide much needed support. Importantly, they should also lobby UK Government to suspend NRPF which will cause real issues for many migrants living in Wales.

You can watch our full response to the Committee here

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