Figures released today in the report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation entitled ‘UK Poverty 2017’ has shown that the percentage of working-age adults who are in poverty has risen under the Conservative Government. Wales now has the highest poverty rate in the UK, only slightly lower than London, in the UK. The percentage of working-age adults in Wales now in poverty stands at around 23% which has increased since 2003/04 to 2004/06 when the last substantive report was produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Showing that working-age poverty, which the last Labour Government reduced from the high in 1994/95 to 1996/97 of nearly 25%.
The report also shows that the pension poverty rate in Wales has increased under this UK Government as well. In 2010/11, when Labour departed from office, pensioner poverty stood at 12%; by 2015/16, it had risen to 21%. The largest increase in the whole of the UK.
Nationally an additional 700,00 UK children and pensioners have fallen into relative poverty- households with less than 60% the median income – over the past four years.
This follows news of the mass resignation of the government’s social mobility team. This was an all-party team including former Labour Health Secretary and Conservative Cabinet Ministers.
Thirteen years of Labour progress has been unpicked by the Conservatives in only seven. In Government, Labour pulled half a million children out of poverty. But now we see poverty of children and pensioners increased by 700,000. A shocking and damning figure.
I have seen over recent years people in Delyn struggling to get by and the number of people using foodbanks increase. These figures confirm what a number of us already knew. What is most concerning is that Wales has one of the highest poverty rates for working-age households in the UK; London being the only region with a higher rate. The statistics are clear: poverty increases under the Tories and falls under Labour.
Day-in-day-out we can see the UK Government is focused solely on who gets to be the next Prime Minister. The fight for the crown comes before everything else. Combine this with their ill-thought out policies we can see why rates of poverty has increased under this neglecting government.