Inquiry into poverty and inequality in Wales

Welsh Assembly

The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee is undertaking an inquiry into poverty in Wales. The inquiry will be divided into four strands, each focusing on one particular issue. Each strand will be self-contained, with its own terms of reference, but taken together will form an overarching piece of work. The Committee is currently working on Strand 1 of the inquiry.

In June 2015, the National Assembly for Wales Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee published Inquiry into Poverty in Wales: Poverty and Inequality.

Findings include that more than one in five people live in poverty in Wales. Since the early 2000s, the level of poverty in Wales has been static, and Wales is currently behind only London (28%) and on par with the West Midlands, with 23% of the population living in poverty.

The report recommends ‘that the Welsh Government establishes a Welsh Poverty Reduction Alliance, which draws together Ministers and officials (including local government), with the third, private and academic sectors. It should also include representation from people living in poverty. This group should form the basis of innovative policy development, implementation and on-going scrutiny of poverty levels in Wales.

Conclusions and recommendations

Bevan Foundation paper: ‘Rethinking poverty’

Bevan Foundation

The paper argues that public policy in Wales needs to be clear what it means by poverty. And while the 60% median income is a useful measure, it is too blunt a tool to inform Wales’s actions to ‘tackle poverty’. Instead it suggests that an approach based on resources and needs is more useful.

Income is a very important aspect of individual and household resources, and, the authors suggest, public policy should explicitly adopt strategies to raise incomes, including the Living Wage. But income isn’t the only important resource – whether households have a home, can keep warm and have enough to eat also matter, and the authors suggest that these should be important areas of a future anti-poverty plan. And last, but not least, individuals need the necessary skills to manage their everyday lives, so literacy and numeracy, digital skills and financial capability are key areas.

The paper by Victoria Winckler with Michael Trickey was published in November 2014.

Review of the Public Sector Equality Duty in Wales

The EHRC logo.

In 2014, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in Wales published a research report and monitoring reports showing the extent of progress in relation to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).

These reports show that:

  • The PSED is working effectively in Wales and should be retained.
  • The PSED is a catalyst for change. All organisations have been able to demonstrate how the PSED supports work to eliminate unlawful discrimination, promote equality and foster good relations.
  • The PSED is being used to influence and scrutinise the way public bodies behave.
  • The Welsh Government can enhance its leadership role to ensure the PSED delivers stronger outcomes.