A snapshot of poverty in summer 2023

ReportsResourcesSeptember 5th, 2023

New Bevan Foundation research reveals that the cost-of-living crisis is still having a devastating impact on people in Wales

The past three years have been incredibly difficult for almost everyone in Wales. With the cost-of-living crisis following on immediately from the Covid pandemic, many people have had little or no respite from financial pressures. The Bevan Foundation’s Snapshot of Poverty series has become a vital tool for anyone who wants to understand poverty in Wales.

As inflation finally begins to slow down, some may hope that the worst is now behind us. This report, the sixth published as part of our Snapshot series, finds that there has been no major improvements in people’s living standards across Wales since our last Snapshot survey in January 2023. 

Among the key findings of the report are: 

  • More than one in seven households in Wales (15 per cent) sometimes, often or always struggle to afford essential items.
  • Large numbers of people are going without essentials including more than one in four (26 per cent) eating smaller meals or skipping meals in their entirety.
  • Debt is a significant problem with 29 per cent of people borrowing money between April 2023 and July 2023 and 13 per cent being in arrears on at least one bill for at least one month.
  • The cumulative effect of the cost-of-living crisis can make life even more difficult for people. More than four in ten people who have cut down on the size of meals or skipped meals entirely have borrowed money from friends and family (45 per cent) or on a credit card (42 per cent) since April 2023.
  • People’s health is being negatively affected by their financial position. 45 per cent of people report this in respect of their mental health and 28 per cent report this in respect of their physical health.

The fact that there has been little change in living standards over the first half of 2023 raises significant concerns about how people will cope in the coming months. Whilst some additional support has been announced for the coming winter, it seems set to be at a much smaller scale than winter 2022/23. Given that the number of people who are struggling financially remains extremely high, the levels of hardship faced by people this winter could be significant unless there is a change in course. 

It is well established that the cost-of-living crisis is not affecting everyone equally. With current indications suggesting that it is unlikely that there will be large scale, population-wide interventions on living costs, understanding which groups are most affected has never been more important. The survey highlights that some groups have been especially hard hit:

  • People on benefits: nearly half of people on Universal Credit or legacy benefits have skipped or cut down on the size of a meal (49 per cent) or gone without heating in their home (45 per cent).
  • Renters: nearly half of all renters borrowed money from at least one source in the three months to July 2023 (47 per cent social renters and 45 per cent private renters), with 48 per cent of private renters skipping or cutting down on meals.
  • Disabled people: more than four in ten disabled people whose condition limits them a lot have gone without heating (41 per cent) or cut down on or skipped a meal (46 per cent).
  • Parents of children under 18: nearly half (47 per cent) of parents have borrowed money between April and July 2023.

Pages: 14

Format: PDF

Language: English (summary available in Welsh by selecting button on top of the page)

Cost: Free



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