New research reveals majority of people in Wales now cutting back on essential items
New research by the Bevan Foundation reveals the majority of people in Wales now cutting back on essential items and that some households are having to cut back on food for children.
The Welsh think tank said its latest “snapshot of poverty report” paints a disturbing picture.
The report focuses on the impact of surging costs, and sluggish income growth on households., “the findings are incredibly concerning” the think tank has said.
The report found that more than one in eight Welsh households (13 per cent) either sometimes or often struggle to afford everyday items. In total 45 per cent of Welsh households never have enough money for anything other than the basics.
The majority of people are now cutting back on essential items – 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 between January and July.
Bevan Foundation said, “the number of people in households with one or two children who are having to cut back on food for children has nearly double since our last Snapshot report in November 2021, with one in ten families with one child and one in five families with two children cutting back on food for children.”
The report found that household debt has remained static – the number of people that are reporting that they are in arrears on a bill or that they have borrowed money has not increased significantly since November 2021.
In total 14 per cent of people have been in arrears on a bill for more than one month with 25 per cent borrowing money.
The report also found that a third of people in Wales had no savings at the start of 2022, whilst 10 per cent spent all their savings on day-to-day items between January and July 2022.
Only 31 per cent of people had savings in January 2022 and did not use them to cover day-to-day items.
More people are worried about losing their home – 11 per cent of people are worried about the prospect of losing their home over the next three months. This rises to a quarter of private rental sector tenants and 17 per cent of social housing tenants.
According to the report, The cost-of-living crisis is affecting people’s health – 43 per cent of people in Wales have seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of their financial position whilst 30 per cent have seen a deterioration in their physical health.
“People are very pessimistic about their prospects over the next three months – nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of people expect to have cut back on at least one essential over the next three months, up more than 20 percentage points from the position in November 2021.” The think tank report says.
The Bevan Foundation said that “more work to do to raise awareness of support.”
“Many people are not aware of all the support they are entitled to from the UK, Welsh and local governments.”
“This means that there are families struggling financially that are missing out on vital assistance that could make a difference.”
Dr Steffan Evans, an author of the Snapshot of Poverty report said: “This report has laid bare the scale of the challenge facing Welsh families this summer.”
“With costs expected to continue to rise through the autumn the situation is likely to worsen further.”
“Now must be the time for action.”
“The UK, Welsh and local governments have already taken measures that have and will continue to make a difference to families all over Wales.”
“As this report has shown, however, the support on offer is already not enough to ensure that everyone is able to put food on the table and heat their home, let alone when costs rise further. ”
“It is therefore imperative that UK Welsh and local governments take measures to both boost incomes and reduce living costs.”
“Any extra steps taken to support families through the cost-of-living crisis should be targeted at the least well off.”
“No one in Wales should be left without heating, food or shelter this winter.”
“It is vital that support is therefore targeted at the groups that are most likely to be left in this position.”
“In addition to increasing the amount of support that is on offer to people in Wales this autumn, measures must be taken to ensure that it is delivered more effectively, with support reaching the people that need it.”
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