Wales caught in 'perfect storm' of poverty
Carol Owen UK poverty Communications Officer
9th Jun 2014
Wales is one of the places worst hit by a tide of hunger and extreme poverty, a report launched this week by Oxfam Cymru reveals.
Below the Breadline, produced by Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and the Trussell Trust, shows food bank use in Wales is disproportionately high. The Trussell Trust gave out three days' food to 79,000 people for a population of just three million last year, compared to 71,000 in Scotland with a population of over five million.
Low pay and welfare cuts are major factors driving people to food banks, and Wales tops the tables for low earnings and benefit claims with 25% of Welsh workers earning less than the Living Wage and 19% of working age people claiming benefits.
"Wales is caught in a perfect storm of benefit cuts, sanctions, low wages and insecure jobs that is driving more and more people to rely on handouts to survive. This should be a stain on our national conscience," said Kirsty Davies, head of Oxfam Cymru.
" We support steps the Welsh government has taken to mitigate the impact of UK government social security reforms, such as keeping up the Council Tax Reduction Scheme after the abolition of Council Tax Benefit and replacing the abolished parts of the Social Fund with the Discretionary Assistance Fund," she added.
"But the UK Government must act urgently on this issue. All political parties must re-instate the principle of a decent welfare safety net."
Over the year 2013/14 use of Trussell Trust foodbanks in Wales rose 120 percent.
To read the report and find out more, visit www.oxfam.org.uk/breadline