New insights gathered by YouGov on behalf of the Bevan Foundation reveal the true impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Welsh families. The majority of people in Wales are now cutting back on essential items. Between January and July 57 per cent cut back on heating, electricity and/or water, 51 per cent cut back on clothing for adults, 45 per cent cut back on transport costs and 39 per cent cut back on food for adults.
Dr Steffan Evans of the Bevan Foundation said:
“Surging costs and sluggish income growth means that families all over Wales are feeling the pinch. The latest data points to a significant deterioration from the position in November 2021 when the Bevan Foundation undertook its last Snapshot survey, and with costs continuing to rise, there is every reason to fear that things could deteriorate further.”
Whilst families all over Wales are feeling the squeeze, thousands of families have already hit breaking point. More than one in eight Welsh households (13 per cent) either sometimes or often struggle to afford everyday items. When this is combined with data from the Welsh Government’s household estimates, it suggests that as many as 180,000 households struggle to afford items such as heating, food and toiletries.
Low-income households (24 per cent with an income of less than £20,000), renters (27 per cent) households with children (20 per cent) and those with health/ disability issues (19 per cent) are among the groups that are at an increased risk of reporting that they sometimes or often struggle to afford everyday items. A staggering 38 per cent of households that are in receipt of Universal Credit report that they either sometimes, or often struggle to afford everyday items.
Dr Steffan Evans added:
“Whilst the cost-of-living crisis is having an impact on all families in Wales it is clear that the crisis is also deepening existing inequalities, with households that were already facing the highest risk of living in poverty being the most affected. The fact that nearly four in ten households that are in receipt of Universal Credit either sometimes or often struggle to afford everyday items, shows why we need to take action to ensure that the social security system provides a real safety net for families, more than ever.”
Perhaps most alarmingly of all, the data highlights that the number of households with children that are reporting cutting back on food for surged since November 2021. Between January and July one in ten people in households with one child and one in five people in households with two children (20 per cent) reported cutting back on food for children (up from 6 per cent and 10 per cent respectively).
Reacting to the latest data the Bevan Foundation’s Director, Dr Victoria Winckler said:
“The latest data provides a sobering reminder of the very real human impact of the cost-of-living crisis on families in Wales. With families now cutting back on food for children, this crisis will be felt for years to come. It is vital that we take action now to protect people ahead of what is set to be an incredibly difficult winter.”