Poverty in Wales increases for working families


A new 'Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion in Wales' report (PDF file size 268kb) from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has revealed the poverty rate amongst those in work has risen in Wales. The figures show that the overall poverty trends in Wales in the last ten years have mirrored those of the UK as a whole with more people of working age, particularly young adults, as well as more private renters and working families being most at risk.

The numbers showed that in-work families in poverty have increased for every age group over the last decade. “Part-working” families, where the work is either part-time, self employed or there is one full-time worker and one adult not working, increased by 100,000 over the last 10 years.

Key findings

The report found:

  • On average 700,000 people were in poverty in Wales in the three years to 2013/14, equivalent to 23% of the population
  • Compared with ten years earlier, there are more people of working age (particularly young adults) in poverty and fewer children and pensioners
  • Poverty has risen in working families and fallen in workless families (see graph above)
  • 27% of people in a family with at least one disabled adult are in poverty, compared with 23% overall. The poverty rate in these families rises to 33% if disability benefits are excluded from income
  • There has been no reduction in the extent of low pay in Wales for a decade, with the proportion of jobs that are low paid remaining at around 25%. In total, 270,000 jobs, mainly held by women, are paid below two‐thirds of the UK median hourly wage
  • In 2014 there were 30,000 Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) sanctions, with younger claimants and claimants from ethnic minority groups disproportionately sanctioned.

Turn2us comments

A Turn2us spokesperson commented: “This report highlights the growing issue of in-work poverty and the fact that too many people are finding it hard to support themselves and their families despite working long hours. Our own research has shown that this problem is worsened by many of those on low incomes not being aware of the support that they are entitled to in the form of welfare benefits and tax credits.

"Additionally, close to 90% of those we questioned said that they had never even considered applying for a charitable grant. We’d urge anyone unsure of what support they might be eligible for to use the Turn2us Grants Search and Turn2us Benefits Calculator."

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