Welfare to Work

Welfare reform will impoverish Wales

In a written ministerial statement, Education Minister Leighton Andrews said: “The cumulative impacts of the welfare reform changes have the potential to drive many of the most vulnerable members of our society into deeper poverty and undermine the Welsh Government’s efforts to reduce poverty in Wales.

“The Welsh Government has itself commissioned a comprehensive assessment of the cumulative impacts of the welfare reforms on people in Wales and this is now under way.

“Early work undertaken as part of this assessment has drawn on regional analysis published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) following the UK Government Spending Review.

“This analysis shows that the combined tax and benefit changes to be implemented over the next few years will be regressive in Wales, as is the case in the UK.

“Furthermore, because average incomes are lower in Wales than in the UK, and because a higher proportion of the working age population in Wales receives welfare benefits (18.4% versus 14.5%), it is expected that cuts in benefits will be felt with greater force in Wales than across the UK as a whole. In fact, the IFS estimate that on average, households in Wales will lose 4.1% of their income as a result of the tax and benefit reforms to be introduced by 2014-15. This compares to a UK average loss of 3.8%.”

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