Poverty amongst children in parts of Wales has risen by up to 3% since 2014. The worst area is Ceredigion, with new analysis finding levels have has gone from 17.2% to 20.3%.
Even before the devastating impact of Covid-19 on household incomes, since 2014 around one in five children living in Wales have been experiencing poverty and as a result the devastating effects it can bring. The End Child Poverty coalition fear the issues will continue to deepen as the virus pulls more and more families below the poverty line.
The group are now calling on the Government to take action and to commit to an ambitious strategy to end child poverty and to immediately increase the amount of money in families’ pockets.
The coalition, working with researchers at Loughborough University, has published a new analysis of Government data that documents how child poverty rates in many different areas across Britain have swelled over the last four years, even before housing costs are taken into account.
The report’s analysis also shows how unequally child poverty affects the country, with children in some parts six times more likely to be growing up in poverty than their neighbours in less deprived areas. The areas in Wales where child poverty has increased are:
- Ceredigion – 20.3% an increase of 3.1%
- Pembrokeshire – 21.4% an increase of 1.9%
- Powys -19.6% an increase of 1.8%
- Gwynedd – 19.0% an increase of 1.2%
- Carmarthenshire – 19.5% an increase of 0.9%
- Wrexham – 17.1% an increase of 0.5%
- Swansea – 17.8% an increase of 0.5%
- Isle of Anglesey – 19.5% an increase of 0.2%
Mark Russell, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:
“These figures show that future generations are being let down by a continued failure to stop the rising levels of child poverty across parts of Wales and the UK.
“We know that without further action the current pandemic is only going to exacerbate this issue, leaving even more families struggling with poverty, hunger and hardship.
“We are delighted that the Welsh Government have responded to the pandemic with additional investment in the Discretionary Assistance Fund (DAF) which provides help for those facing financial crisis, as well as allowing for greater flexibility for accessing the DAF. It is crucial that this new support is now communicated far and wide to anyone who might be in need of financial assistance.”
Anna Feuchtwang, Chair of End Child Poverty and Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:
“We may all be experiencing the storm of Coronavirus together, but we are not all in the same boat. The government’s data shows the extent to which over the past four years, children in low income families have been cut adrift and are already experiencing unacceptable hardship through cuts and freezes to the benefits system.
“Our country’s children are now at severe risk of being swept deeper into poverty as a result of the pandemic and lockdown. This is why we are asking the government to strengthen the social security system which is there to hold us steady during tough times, by immediately increasing household income for those least well-off.
“Ending child poverty must be at the heart of the Government’s plan for economic recovery, so that when this crisis is over all children can enjoy a life free from poverty in which they are healthy, can thrive at school and have opportunities for the future.”