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Almost 1 in 4 people in Wales 'trapped' in poverty

A report warns that poverty is on the rise among pensioners, single people and couples with children. Credit: PA

More and more families in Wales are at risk of being "trapped" in poverty according to a new report.

It warns that poverty is on the rise among pensioners, single people and couples with children, and that progress on child poverty has stalled.

The report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights Wales has the highest proportion of its population living in poverty compared with anywhere else in the UK.

Rising living costs, especially housing costs, combined with cuts to working age benefits and poor quality jobs is leading to an increased risk of living in poverty for both families in and out of work.

According to the Poverty in Wales 2018 report 710,000 people in Wales are now living in poverty - including 185,000 children, 405,000 working age adults and 120,000 pensioners.

We share a moral responsibility to make sure everyone has a decent standard of living and the same chances in life.

Low-paid, unstable jobs, rising living costs and insufficient benefits mean that many people in Wales are locked in a daily struggle to make ends meet. Poverty restricts the choices people can make, leaving families in impossible situations like choosing either to heat their home or pay their rent.

We urge politicians in Cardiff Bay and Westminster to work with businesses to redesign the job and housing markets so they work better for those people living in the most deprived areas of Wales.

– Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

The Welsh Government has responded to the findings of the report and says "preventing the scourge of poverty from limiting the potential of individuals, families and communities across the country - is a fundamental priority for this Welsh Government."

The Economic Action Plan we published in December is our cross-government response to that challenge and grounded on the principle that well-paid work is the best route out of poverty. It seeks to increase the availability of good quality jobs and empower communities with the skills and economic infrastructure that can support better jobs closer to home.

Next month we will publish our Employability Delivery Plan which will set out how we will support people, including those furthest from the jobs market, to increase their employability, and our Childcare offer will support working families across Wales and provide them with more employment choices.

We have been working hard to secure the provision of affordable housing across Wales and have committed to delivering 20,000 new affordable homes by 2021.

We are also investing unprecedented amounts, over £90m this year and a proposed further £187m over the next two years,through our Pupil Development Grant to improve outcomes for our disadvantaged learners to reduce the attainment gap.

– Welsh Government