A decade of no reduction in child poverty in Dickensian Wales

Most households in Wales will receive a £150 payment as part of plans to tackle the rising cost of living. This is on top of the £200 winter fuel payments. A generous gesture according to some, a stripped chicken bone thrown from the top table according to others.

The Welsh government will provide a £150 payment to all properties in council tax bands A to D, which covers the majority of homes. Those who are in the council tax reduction scheme in all tax bands will also get the payment. The total cost of is estimated at £152m.

Recent news items have featured oil and utilities companies returning huge profits while the elderly switch off home heating in an attempt to cope with the rising cost of gas and electricity. Food Banks are also seeing a rise in demand. Children’s charities have long been sounding the alarm bell that the plight of children in Wales is just not improving with no reduction in child poverty levels for over a decade.

The End Child Poverty Network Cymru remain deeply concerned that levels of child poverty in Wales remain stubbornly high and predicted to sharply increase in the near future, with many more children and their families struggling to meet basic everyday costs and needs. Many children will have found their situations considerably worsened as a direct result of the economic impact of COVID 19, with the emergency serving to exacerbate pre-existing inequalities.

[http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/snapshots/snapshot08/8l.htm NationalArchives]
Save the Children estimate that around 200,000 children are living in poverty in Wales, or one in three of the total. In addition, as many as 90,000 live in severe poverty. On both counts, Wales has the highest rate of child poverty of any nation in the UK.

Nearly four in ten Welsh households are struggling to make ends meet new Bevan Foundation research reveals. The report from 2021 reveals that households are struggling to make ends meet – Nearly four in ten Welsh households (39 per cent) do not have enough money to buy anything beyond everyday items, up from 33 per cent in May

Thousands of households are having to cut back and ration their use of the essentials we all need to live with dignity. Low-income households, renters, disabled people, lone parents, and adults aged between 25 and 64 more likely to have had to cut back on everyday essentials than other groups.

The impact on children is getting greater. More than one in five families with children have had to cut back on items for children including books, toys, nappies and clothing, whilst one in ten families with two children have had to cut back on food for children.

A county view – Carmarthenshire

Of all the 0-19 year olds in Carmarthenshire, 7,291 (19%) live in relative income poverty (households at or below 60% of median income).

There are 58 wards in Carmarthenshire and 112 Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA’s), 5% of the LSOA’s are in the 10% most deprived in Wales.

16% of children and young people in Carmarthenshire are living in severe poverty (50% or less of median household income) and it least two measures of material deprivation.

There is broad public support for taking action to support struggling households. The majority of people in Wales support taking action that would ease the pressure felt by struggling households. This includes measures such as universal school meals, reforming Council Tax and building more social housing. Protests have taken place across Wales with some commentators saying that there is growing anger over the inequality in our society.

The calls come at a time when most councils are raising their council tax by a staggering 5% in some instances. Rising food and fuel costs will also be adding to the misery felt by those on low income. The issue of the size of the wage packets for members of the Senedd and councillors is one, which has been mentioned here in the past. Whilst many will appreciate that someone has to do the job of a politician and that it requires remuneration. social media has always been full of comments calling for politicians to take a pay cut and for council’s to use up some of their reserves given the scale of the economic downturn for those families on universal credits and low paid jobs. Public sector workers have not seen any significant rise in their wages despite the rattling of pans and singing on doorsteps. How quickly we all return to the ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude.

As a rough guide here are the approximate figures for our political representatives.

First Minister of Wales £147,983 Plus Expenses
Ministerial colleagues £105,701 Plus Expenses
Member of Senedd Basic Pay  £67,649 Plus Expenses

Carmarthenshire County Council
CEO Basic £150,000+
Assistant CEO £110,000+
Corporate Directors £122,000+
Heads of Service £90,000+
Leader of Council £49,000+
Deputy Leader £35,000+
Exec Board Members £30,000+
Leader of Opposition £23,000+
Councillor Basic £14,000+

There are 74 councillors 18 are entitled to senior salaries. Councillors are expected work Three Days per Week. Proposals are for councillors to receive a basic salary of £16,800.

Unqualified teachers should expect to earn: £18,169 to £28,735 a year. Newly qualified teachers are paid in the range of: £27,018 to £37,320 a year.

The average Nurse salary in Wales is £38,708.

How Does the Welsh Government Plan to Spend Your Money? 

Do you have any alternative suggestions? Email editor@walesnewsonline.com

The sun,–the bright sun, that brings back, not light alone, but new life, and hope, and freshness to man–burst upon the crowded city in clear and radiant glory. Through costly-coloured glass and paper-mended window, through cathedral dome and rotten crevice, it shed its equal ray.
― Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist








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