Putting Poverty at the centre of the Welsh Government’s 2020/21 budget

Poverty An empty wallet

Nearly a quarter of the Welsh population live in poverty.

Whilst not all policy levers to solve this problem have been devolved to Wales, the Bevan Foundation’s new paper outlines how the Welsh Government could more effectively use its budget to have a positive impact on the lives of low income families in Wales.

The case for putting poverty at the centre of the Welsh Government’s budget for 2020/21

Poverty has a devastating impact on the lives of individuals all over Wales,  putting families at greater risk of living in low quality housing and reducing a person’s life expectancy. Poverty does not only impact on the lives of the individuals directly affected by it but also has an impact on broader Welsh society. In 2016 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) estimated that poverty is linked to additional public spending of around £3.6 billion in Wales. Solving poverty should not only be a priority for the Welsh Government as it is the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense.

The role of the budget

There are three main drivers of poverty in Wales:

  1. Work not providing workers with enough income to enjoy a decent standard of living.
  2. The social security system not providing families with enough support.
  3. High costs of living, especially housing costs.

Whilst the Welsh Government does not have control over all the policy leavers necessary to address the root causes of poverty, its budget, which was in excess of £18 billion in 2019/20 does provide the Welsh Government with a powerful tool to improve the lives of low income families.

Our paper recommends that the Welsh Government should:

  • Put poverty at the centre of its budget for 2020/21
  • Underpin its budget with 6 key principles, including adopting a coherent strategy that sets out how the budget will help solve poverty
  • Allocate expenditure to interventions which will solve poverty and deal with its consequences across all budget head

The paper makes specific recommendations to the Welsh Government on how funding should be prioritised within each budget heading if the Welsh Government is to put its commitment to solving poverty into action.

Report Format: PDF – Page: 9 – Cost: Free

Download in English or Welsh by clicking on the relevant language.

You can also download a PDF of our Poverty budget infographic (see right)

This document forms part of a broader project of work developed in collaboration between the Bevan Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Find out how YOU and your organisation can join us to solve poverty in Wales »



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