PPIW Poverty Series: Inequality and Poverty in Wales – The Equalities Approach to Poverty Reduction.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales advises that any approach to tackling poverty needs to be based on an understanding of the identity of those in poverty.

The profile (in terms of protected characteristics) of those living in poverty in Wales is of a disproportionate number being disabled people, women or people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Any approach to tackling poverty needs to recognise that one size fits all and geographically based approaches have not proven to be effective so far.

How Fair is Wales? 2011
Provides useful information on the link between inequality and poverty. Our research shows that:

  • 23% of people in Wales live in poverty, including:
    • 48% of lone parents, of which 9 in 10 are women
    • 46% of disabled people
    • 43% of ethnic minority people
    • 27% of 16-25 year old people
  • 34% of Pakistani women have no qualifications. Women of Indian, Mixed Race and Chinese origin are more likely to have a degree than white women.
  • 74% of disabled people – excluding those in education – are not employed.
  • 46% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are not in employment or full-time education. For Bangladeshi and Pakistani women this rises to 72%.
  • People living in white households have a median income of £289 a week while black households have a median income of £218.


Is Wales Fairer? 2015
Since 2008 there has been no reduction in inequality in living conditions. Poverty continues to affect some people disproportionately. Access to care continues to be difficult. Homelessness has declined, but some groups of people are more likely to be homeless than others.

  • People with routine or semi-routine occupations are 3 times as likely to live in poverty than those with professional and managerial jobs
  • There are concerns about the impact on women of Universal Credit, such as one payment of benefit per household or couple
  • Access to childcare has increased slightly but is patchy
  • Blaenau Gwent has half the number of places per 100 children as in the Vale of Glamorgan or Monmouthshire.
  • Recorded statutory homeless acceptances in Wales are 70% higher than in England pro rata to population
  • The profile of statutorily homelessness households in Wales has changed:
    •  Increase in number of people fleeing domestic abuse (up 19%)
    • Increase in people poor mental health or learning disabilities(up 24%) being homeless

The Is Wales Fairer goal is to:

  • Reduce poverty especially amongst children, disabled people, and ethnic minority people.
  • Improve access to care for older people and children.
  • Reduce homelessness, especially amongst people fleeing domestic abuse and people with poor mental health or learning disabilities.

About the author: Kate Bennett is the National Director for Wales at the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Equality and Human Rights Commission in Wales champions equality and human rights for all, working to eliminate discrimination, reduce inequality, protect human rights and to build good relations, ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to participate in society.


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