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Child Poverty ProgressReport 2019December 2019

Child Poverty Strategy:Assessment of Progress 2019AudienceThe National Assembly for Wales, Welsh Local Authorities, Public Bodies, Anti-Poverty Champions,Private and Third Sector organisations that have an interest in deprivation and poverty in Wales,and members of the public.OverviewThis document summarises an assessment of the Welsh Government’s progress towards achievingthe objectives of its Child Poverty Strategy.Further informationEnquiries about this document should be directed to:Education and Public Services GroupWelsh GovernmentRhyd y CarMerthyr TydfilCF48 1UZE-mail: [email protected] documentsTaking Wales Forward 2016-2021https://gov.wales/taking-wales-forwardProsperity for Allhttps://gov.wales/prosperity-all-national-strategyChild Poverty Strategy for Wales (2015)https://gov.wales/child-poverty-strategy-wales-reportEconomic Action Planhttps://gov.wales/prosperity-all-economic-action-planEmployability Planhttps://gov.wales/employability-planStrategic Equality Planhttps://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-03/equality-plan-andobjectives-2016-2020.pdfVersion 2Mae’r ddogfen yma hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg.This document is also available in Welsh. Crown copyright 2019WG39759Digital ISBN 978-1-83933-793-2

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019ContentsMinisterial Foreword4How do we measure Child Poverty?6What are the current trends in Child Poverty?7What are we doing to meet our child poverty objectives?8Supporting people into decent jobs8Helping parents and young people increase their skills9Helping every child reach their full potential10Improving the health of the poorest11Securing the prosperity of families12Creating good, well paid work13Keeping more money in people’s pockets14What else have we been doing?15Childcare15Providing homes and preventing homelessness15Tackling Food Poverty16Tackling In-work Poverty17Easing pressure for families18What will we be doing next?193

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019Ministerial ForewordBut we cannot completely mitigate for orundo the fundamental causes of poverty andinequality, which are inexorably being imposedon us from beyond our borders and beyondour control.We are experiencing the longest period ofsustained austerity and the biggest squeeze onpublic spending in living memory, as a result ofdecisions made by successive UK Governmentsover the last decade.I am proud to be a member of a WelshGovernment, which has always put childrenand children’s rights at the heart of everythingit does. Tackling child poverty has been –and continues to be – a priority for all Ministersin this government.The UK Government has also made a successionof reforms to the safety net of welfare benefits,which have had a cruel – and in many casesdevastating – impact on families and individualswho have looked to the state to help in theirtime of need.We will do everything in our power and makeresources available to help those children andfamilies most in need.These changes to the way benefits arepaid and administered and the advent of apunishing sanctions regime, all in the wakeof a country recovering from a long and deeprecession, where work has become less fair andreliable, has created the conditions for morefamilies – and more children – to slip below thepoverty line.This statutory report provides an assessment ofthe progress made towards achieving our childpoverty objectives since the publication of ourfirst Child Poverty Strategy in 2011.It makes for sober reading. The latest figuresshow that, while we are making someprogress in addressing child poverty, it remainsstubbornly high1.Following his visit to the UK, the UN SpecialRapporteur on Extreme Poverty and HumanRights highlighted that a decade of austerityhas eroded the social structures, which havebeen developed since the last war to supportthe poorest and most vulnerable in ourcommunities.On the one hand, the report sets out thatwhere the Welsh Government has the powerand ability to directly intervene and influencethose factors which contribute to child povertyand inequality; we are making a positivedifference.He also criticised the UK Government’s tax andwelfare reforms, which have impacted mostdamagingly on those who are least able tomanage the changes.Our actions are helping to mitigate the worstimpacts of poverty – putting up to 2,000back into the pockets of people every year –and tackle some of the root causes of poverty.1For the three year period ending in 2017/18, 29 per cent of children in Wales were living in relative income poverty. This compares to 28 per cent for thethree year period ending in 2016/17.4

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019We will continue to do everything we canto address child poverty. As a government,we will review how we can develop a morecompassionate, citizen-centred approach totackling poverty, through continued crossgovernment activity.It is essential we use all the levers at ourdisposal to build greater resilience that will helpsupport people and communities to meet thechallenges ahead.I welcome this report, as it sets out the scaleof the challenge we face in Wales and the levelof pressures coming from beyond our borders.It also highlights our ongoing commitmentto make a difference, however difficult thecircumstances.We are reviewing our programmes and servicesto ensure they have maximum impact on thelives of families in poverty as well as planningour budget priorities for 2020-21 using apoverty lens.Julie James AMMinister for Housing and Local Government5

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019How do we measure Child Poverty?The key indicator of child poverty is thepercentage of children living in householdsbelow 60% of the median UK householdincome (After Housing Costs).In addition to the relative measure of childpoverty, we use a wider set of key indicators tomeasure progress on delivering the changes wewant the Child Poverty Strategy to deliver.These indicators reflect the policy levers available: % of children living in relative incomepoverty (After Housing Costs). % of 7 year old pupils eligible forFree School Meals (FSM) achievingthe expected level at the end of theFoundation Phase. % of children living in relative incomepoverty where at least one adult isworking (After Housing Costs). % of pupils eligible for Free SchoolsMeals (FSM) who achieve the Level 2threshold including English / Welsh andMaths at Key Stage 4. % of children living in worklesshouseholds. % of working age adults with noqualifications. % of young people aged 16-18 whoare not in employment educationor training (NEET). % of working age adults holdingqualifications at levels 2, 3 or 4and above. % of young people aged 19-24 whoare not in employment education ortraining (NEET). % of children living in low incomehouseholds who are reaching health,social and cognitive developmentmilestones when entering formaleducation. % of babies (live births) born witha low birth weight (defined as under2,500 grams).Definition of PovertyOur Child Poverty Strategy defines poverty as:A long-term state of not having sufficient resources to afford food, reasonable livingconditions or amenities or to participate in activities (such as access to attractiveneighbourhoods and open spaces) that are taken for granted by others in their society.6

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019What are the current trends in Child Poverty?The latest figures show that, although weare making some progress, child poverty inWales remains stubbornly high. For the threeyear period ending in 2017/18, 29 per cent ofchildren in Wales were living in relative incomepoverty. This compares to 28 per cent for thethree year period ending in 2016/17.Percentage of people in relative income poverty (after housing costs) in Walesand the UK by age group, 2015-16 to 2017-1835Wales30UK25%20151050All PeopleChildrenWorking AgePensionersSource: Welsh Government analysis of the Family Resource Survey data for Wales (2015-2016 to 2017-18)UNCRCIn May 2012, our duty to have due regard to the United NationsConvention on the Rights of the Child came into place as part ofthe Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011.Children’s Rights remain central to our approach to tacklingchild poverty.7

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019What are we doing to meet our child poverty objectives?Supporting people into decentjobs 2Our programmes continue to make adifferenceCommunities for Work Plus – Has engaged12,723 participants up to the end of October2019 with 4,251 of them securing employment.Communities for Work – Up to endSeptember 2019, the programme has providedemployment support to 23,480 people, andsupported 8,750 of them into employmentacross Wales.PaCE – Up to end of October 2019, 4,750people have received employment supportand 1,820 of them have been supported intoemployment.Since devolution the economic inactivity ratein Wales has fallen by 6.7 percentage points,compared with a fall of 2.5 percentage pointsfor the UK over the same period. The economicinactivity rate is now lower than the UK as awhole. During the same period, the number ofworkless households in Wales fell from 223,000to 182,000, representing a decline of 18.3%.The employment rate in Wales is now higherthan the UK as a whole.The proportion of 16 to 18 year olds whoare not in education, employment or training(NEET) has been gradually decreasing since2011. The provisional estimate for 2018 showsa small increase (less than one percentagepoint) compared with 2017, however, thisfigure is one of the lowest seen in over adecade. The proportion of 19 to 24 yearolds that are NEET has been falling since therecession and now stands at around 16%.,Going ForwardSince our last report, the number of childrenliving in workless households has fallenfrom 73,000 in 2016 to 68,700 in 2018.Nevertheless, we know we need to do more.Working Wales (https://workingwales.gov.wales/), the new employability adviceservice for Wales was launched in May 2019to reduce the complexity of our existingemployability delivery model for youngpeople and adults, and complement regionaland community level delivery.Child Poverty Indicators% of young people 16-18 yearswho are *NEETNo201112.214,00020179.49,700201810.310,300120,0000100,000201122.357,40020,000201716.139,400201816.139,10068,70040,00067,600No73,000%72,000Year77,80060,00088,80080,00094,700% of young people 19-24 yearswho are *NEETNumber of Children living in worklesshouseholds in Wales98,500%100,600Year2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018YearSource: Annual Population Survey, Office for National Statistics2In Objective 1 of our Child Poverty Strategy we commit to ‘reduce the number of families living in workless households, as children living in worklesshouseholds are particularly at risk of living in poverty’.8

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019Helping parents and youngpeople increase their skills 3of Other Languages), Numeracy and DigitalLiteracy learning, providing them with the skillsthey need to thrive in our society and economy.We know that improving skills is the mostdirect way to improve individual employmentoutcomes and drive local economicperformance.An action learning grant of 300,000 issupporting FE institutions to deliver flexibleadult learning in communities to reduce barrierssuch as work commitments, transport, childcareand caring responsibilities.Apprenticeships – We are exceeding theperformance profile by 7% on our 120mprogramme. 69,645 apprentices have startedsince the 100,000 target was introducedin 2016.Going ForwardWe are piloting a two year Personal LearningAccount programme for workers aged 19 earning less than 27,000 per year to fundpersonal vocational retraining in sectorswhere there is a skills shortage. Funding willprovide access to a range of occupationallearning/courses and approved qualificationslinked to key sector demands. We alsocontinue to prepare for any skills gaps thatmay emerge as a result of our exit fromthe EU. Whilst we procure the new JobSupport Wales Employability Programme,we will extend a range of programmesincluding Traineeships and the EmployabilitySkills Programme to provide continuity ofemployability and skills support during atime of uncertainty.EU Funding – We are taking steps to eliminatethe qualification gap between Wales and therest of the UK. Up to 31 August 2019, projectsfunded under the 2014-20 ESF programmehave helped over 77,000 people to gain aqualification in preparation for work, or whilethey were employed.Our Flexible Skills Programme has supported59 employers to improve the skills levels of4000 employees, tackle skills shortages andimprove workforce capability and productivity.Adult Education – We are supporting peoplefrom vulnerable households to develop theirCommunication (Including English for SpeakersChild Poverty Indicators% of working age adults4holding qualifications at levels2, 3 or 4 and above% of working age adults3awith no qualifications33aYear%Year%201112.0201172.820169.5201677.720188.4201878.9In Objective 2 of our Child Poverty Strategy we commit to ‘increase the skills of parents and young people living in low-income households so they cansecure well-paid employment and in-work progression, as in-work poverty is a growing issue’.Males and females aged 18-64. This table was previously based on an older definition of working age (males 18-64 and females 18-59.9

Child Poverty Progress Report 2019Helping every child reach theirfull potential4Higher Education – the number of studentssupported has increased from around 74,700in 2017/18 to around 77,600 in 2018/19,and the amount of support has increased from 0.95 billion to 1.01 billion.Tackling Educational InequalitiesWhile there has been an increase in the numberof FSM pupils achieving Level 2 inclusive, therehas been a fall in the percentage of FSM pupilsachieving the expected level at the end ofthe Foundation Phase between 2018–2019.However, this decline should be consi

5 Child Poverty Progress eport 2019 Julie James AM Minister for Housing and Local Government We will continue to do everything we can to address child poverty. As a government, we will review how we can develop a more compassionate, citizen-centred approach to tackling poverty, through continued cross-government activity. We are reviewing our programmes and services to ensure they have maximum ...

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