, , ,

Child Poverty in Wales Remains Highest in the UK


Child poverty in Wales is currently one of the largest issues facing the United Kingdom.

Under the U.K. government’s Child Poverty Act, which was recently scrapped due to poverty levels across the U.K. remaining high, a child is defined as living in poverty when they are “living in a household with an income below 60 percent of the UK average of £453 a week.”

Based on these guidelines, over 2.3 million children across the U.K. are currently living in poverty, or about one in six. With one-third of children living in poverty, Wales currently has the highest child poverty rate in the U.K. outside of the city of London.

In response to these recent figures, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith stated that poverty issues in Wales are “deep rooted,” while a severe lack of public transportation has left communities without access to better jobs.

Wales’ Children’s Commissioner, Professor Sandy Holland, has been an open advocate for reform of the Welsh government’s child poverty programs. Speaking to ITV.com, she lamented that child poverty statistics in Wales are “unacceptably high.”

“The different life chances for children, whether you’re living in the poorest fifth of society or the richest fifth, they’re really stark and we’ve done nothing in the last eight years to reduce that inequality,” Holland said.

Despite a rise in employment across the U.K. since 2010, poverty in Wales has remained unaffected. Speaking to the BBC, Dr. Sarah Lloyd-Jones, director of Cardiff’s education charity People and Work Unity, says that policy reform is the first big step Wales needs to take to start improving its statistics.

“We have an approach that says we’ll look at basic skills and structures to help people survive in poverty but we need to be more ambitious,” she said. “We need to be saying, ‘Why aren’t we getting engineers out of this community, why aren’t we getting doctors or chemists?’”

– Alexander Jones

Sources: BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV
Photo: BBC