Review of poverty and social exclusion in Wales

The Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) have prepared two reports on poverty and social exclusion in Wales as part of our work to deliver a review of international poverty and social exclusion strategies, programmes and interventions for the Welsh Government. One report focuses on quantitative evidence, and another focuses on secondary qualitative evidence relating to the lived experience of poverty and social exclusion in Wales.

The quantitative report provides an overview of past, current, and possible future trends in poverty and social exclusion in Wales. It is intended to inform and shape WCPP’s wider project by providing insight into the scope and trajectory of poverty and social exclusion in Wales. This report draws on evidence from Welsh Government reports and statistics, the Well-being of Wales reports mandated by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and reports by organisations including the Bevan Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, among others.

The lived experience evidence review examines the available qualitative evidence on lived experience of poverty and social exclusion in Wales. We focus on qualitative evidence as this allows for richer, more open and flexible communication of people’s experiences in their own words and terms compared with quantitative approaches which often necessitate predefined categories through which to understand people’s experiences. The review draws on both academic and non-academic (e.g. ‘grey literature’) evidence and focuses on twelve dimensions of social exclusion selected by the Welsh Government.

Taken together, the findings show poverty and social exclusion to be major issues in Wales. Overall, the evidence emphasises the dynamic state of poverty and social exclusion, both in relation to national trends and the lived experience of poverty and social exclusion across the lifespan of individuals. The Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit mean the extent and nature of poverty will continue to evolve, adding further complexity. The continually evolving situation and the implications of changes to both UK and Welsh Government budgets points to the need for an iterative approach. The dynamic situation also places further importance on the meaningful inclusion of lived experience (i.e. how people living in poverty in Wales experience and articulate the current situation as lived out by them and people they know) on an ongoing basis in informing Welsh Government understanding over and above that provided by quantitative evidence or data.