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Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Wales 2005

An independent assessment of the progress being made in Wales to tackle poverty and social exclusion.

Written by:
Peter Kenway, Naomi Parsons, Jane Carr and Guy Palmer
Date published:

[Mae'r cyhoeddiad hwn hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg]

This report is built around a set of 32 indicators organised into four chapters, namely: income, education, work, health and services. The indicators use the latest available data (typically 2004 or 2005) to illustrate both trends over time and differences relating to social class, age and gender.

The report also has a strong geographical focus, reflecting a desire to observe differences within Wales and see how far different aspects of disadvantage overlap with one another.

The authors find that there has been substantial progress in reducing poverty in Wales in recent years, particularly among households that were previously without work. It does, however, stand out from the rest of the UK for the high prevalence of working age ill health, particularly in the Valleys. Whilst lack of work and child health are also worst in the Valley, some other aspects of disadvantage, for example low pay, are highest in rural areas.

The report raises a number of questions for policy consideration in the light of its findings. These focus on the relationship between poverty and educational outcomes, barriers to work, poor jobs and access to services.

Monitoring poverty and social exclusion Wales 2005 provides an essential resource and guide for policy makers and others in Wales wanting to take stock of what is happening and seeking to understand the challenges that lie ahead.


A study from the New Policy Institute draws on the latest available data to monitor indicators of poverty and social exclusion in Wales. While low income is clearly central, the indicators also cover education, work, health and well-being, and access to services. The key points are:

  • Steady falls in the proportion of people of all ages living in low-income households have brought poverty rates in Wales down to the GB average. Though highest in the Valleys, every part of Wales has significant levels of child poverty.
  • Unemployment has also fallen steadily to UK levels or below. However, more people are 'economically inactive but wanting work' than unemployed, especially in the Valleys.
  • Homelessness is rising sharply, as is the number of homeless households placed in temporary accommodation.
  • Wales stands out within Britain for the high prevalence of working-age ill health across all ages. It is highest in the Valleys, with significant pockets across the west of Wales.
  • Households where someone is in work are a rising share of those in poverty. Low pay is especially associated with part-time work. Most low-paid workers are women. Retail and the public sector are the main employers of low-paid workers.
  • Low pay is most prevalent in rural areas, especially Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Powys.
  • Improving trends in educational attainment at 11 and 16 slowed around 2000 and in some cases came to a halt. Compared with England, Wales has a particularly high proportion of 16-year-olds failing to get any GCSEs at all.
  • 17-year-olds who have neither five good GCSEs nor an equivalent vocational qualification are very unlikely to have any further qualifications by the age of 24.
  • Both the quality of GP services and the provision of childcare places are lower in the Valleys than elsewhere in Wales.
  • Rural, West and North West Wales are marked by a lack of central heating, the problem being worst in Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey and Conwy.


0575.pdf (2.33 MB)
1859353967.pdf (2.59 MB)
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This report is part of the work topic.

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