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National Programme to Spread Prosperity and Improve Life Chances

November 5th 2015

The Bevan Foundation is calling for the next Welsh Government to implement a national programme to spread prosperity and boost the life chances of thousands of people in Wales, at an estimated cost of £300 million a year.

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Why?

The next Welsh Government needs a radical new approach of sufficient scale and impact to spread prosperity and improve life chances. Around 700,000 people in Wales have household incomes that are so low that they go without many of the things that most people take for granted. The problem is forecast to get worse over the next five years.

The case for spreading prosperity

Low income damages lives and limits people’s achievements and prospects, and is a cost to business.  Low income also costs the Welsh public purse dear, both through action to deal with the impact of low income and lost potential – an estimated £3.5 billion a year.  This is a good investment if it reduces the cost of low income to the public purse.

The Solutions

The next Welsh Government needs a new radical, new approach which:

  • is of sufficient scale to achieve a measurable improvement in the distribution of income and life chances;
  • recognises the specific needs of people at different stages in their lives;
  • is pan-Wales in scope and impact;
  • includes action by all key organisations – including business, the public sector and third sector.

This paper outlines a programme for the next Welsh Government so that by 2020 around 80% of the Welsh population has a household income above 60% of the median.

The paper includes indicative costs, totalling around £300 million a year, and ideas for innovative ways of financing some of them.

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