As a result, the First Minister has brought the Tackling Poverty, Equality and Welfare Reform agenda together to better inform a more proactive approach in the most challenging of times. The Welsh Government’s Welfare Reform Ministerial Task & Finish Group has been assessing and monitoring the impact of the UK Government’s welfare reforms in Wales. It commissioned a three-stage programme of research. Stage 1 Research (published in February 2012) This analysis established the likely aggregate impact of the tax and welfare changes on individuals and households in Wales by pulling together existing evidence. This evidence included an assessment of the impact of the changes by gender. The analysis draws on evidence from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) on the impact of the tax and benefit changes (excluding Universal Credit) by gender that was published in summer 2011. Although this is a little dated now, the findings remain relevant. The IFS suggest that the tax and benefit reforms introduced between 2012–13 and 2014–15 will proportionately reduce the incomes of households with a single woman more than those with a single man and have attributed this difference to the fact that very few men are lone parents (over 90 per cent of lone parents are female). Given that lone parents are more reliant on income from benefits, they lose a particularly large amount from some of the benefit reforms. The same IFS analysis also found that there is relatively little difference in the distributional effect of tax and benefit reforms between single-earner couple households according to whether the man or the woman is the earner, and between two-earner couple households according to whether the man or the woman is the higher earner on average.
Kate cassidy welsh gov 2013
New Ministerial portfolio brings together:
Tackling Poverty; Welfare Reform
Equality and equal opportunities;
Financial Inclusion, Digital Inclusion and advice services;
Communities First; Third Sector
Children, Young People and Families
These areas involve all parts of the Welsh Government
Communities and Tackling Poverty
The Impact of Welfare Reform in Wales
•Welfare Reform Ministerial Task & Finish Group has commissioned
research on likely impact of welfare reform in Wales
•First report (February 2012) drew on evidence from the Institute for
Fiscal Studies (IFS) that was published in summer 2011.
“the poorest households with children are estimated to lose
the largest proportion of their income as a result of the tax
and benefit changes. In particular, non-working lone parents
and workless couples with children are expected to suffer a
disproportionate financial hit. Families with children aged
under five and families with more than two children will also
be particularly badly affected.”
• Second stage report (published February 2013) looks at the
cumulative impact of the reforms to the welfare system alone.
• £590 million less in welfare payments in Wales 2014-15
• overall impact on employment is predicted to be, at best, very
modest and will depend on wider economic conditions
• initial assessment of implications for public services – housing,
social care, health, funding for advice services…
• Stage 3 report will look specifically at the equality impact of the
reforms and is due to be finalised in July 2013
Welfare reform and gender
Benefits are the same for women and men in the
…but women are still likely to lose most / gain
least and be most affected by the reforms:
90% of non working lone parents are female
70% of claimants subject to conditionality
requirements are expected to be female
60% of claimants affected by the benefit cap are
expected to be female
A complex picture…
• Universal Credit is expected to increase incentives for lone
parents to start work, but there will be a need to weigh up changes
to tax credits and childcare subsidy
• For lone parents in work, the incentives for them to work more
hours will be significantly increased (provided they can find the
opportunity to work more hours, find childcare etc)
• For “second earners”, on the one hand the benefits picture seems
to reduce the incentive for them to work and tax relief for childcare
is limited in its extent
• Fewer disability payments will also mean fewer carers’ allowances
• The “how” is important too: single, monthly payments in arrears to
each household: implications?
Learning from other research
Bevan Foundation Report Women, Work and the Recession in Wales Feb 2013
• Women are continuing to lose jobs
• Women in occupations at the bottom of the labour market have borne the
brunt of job losses
WENWales Report Welfare Reforms: The Effect on Women In Wales Feb 2013
• disruption and fundamental changes for women…at a time of rising
unemployment and economic insecurity.
Chwarae Teg Report: A study of women’s roles in the Welsh workforce April
• Inequality outside the workplace continues to shape inequality within
• Affordable and accessible childcare needs to be more available
Tackling Poverty Action Plan: 3 themes
• Early Years matter – good parenting; adequate nutrition; positive
learning experiences leading to better educational attainment.
Helping people into work
• Employment offers a high level of protection against poverty, and
particularly against deep and persistent poverty.
Mitigating the impact of poverty
• Welfare reforms add to the picture: may incentivise some people
into work but some people will be hit hard
• Recent developments: advice services and credit unions.
Welsh Government actions include:
• Advisory Services
• Communities First
• Energy efficiency programmes: Arbed & Nest
• Free travel for older and disabled people
• Homelessness Grant
• Getting people online
• Work on helping
people into work or
• Community Benefits
to create local Jobs
• European Structural
• Maternity Strategy
• Flying Start
• Team Around the
• Integrated Family
• Pupil Deprivation
Strategic Equality Plan
• The Welsh Government’s Strategic Equality Plan dovetails with the
Tackling Poverty Action Plan through its focus on the root causes of
• Objectives in the Strategic Equality Plan include
development of stronger advice services;
tackling the gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps;
a focus on increasing the affordability and availability of
helping 16-24 year olds who are NEET into jobs and
helping disabled people to live independently.
• Equality issues are embedded in our thinking about poverty
Equality Impact Assessments
• Wales remains committed to assessing equality impacts in order to ensure a
strong future for the people of Wales.
• Publication of Equality Impact Assessments on the Welsh Government
• The Welsh Government was the first administration in the UK to publish an
Equality Impact Assessment alongside its budget.
• The assessment of our spending decisions is even more critical in these
times of austerity.
• To support and strengthen our position the Welsh Government has
encouraged and welcomed improvements to our EIA process including:
- the EHRC’s independent Appreciative Inquiry into our EIA process
- and the Establishment of the Budget Advisory Group for Equality (BAGE)
To conclude – some suggestions
• Tackling Poverty Action Plan, linked with Strategic
Equality Plan, provides strategic focus. Refresh of the
Tackling Poverty plan due next month.
• “Resilient Communities” theme emerging – a focus on
how well networked our programmes and organisations
are, to support people and families.
• It’s about mitigation but also about helping people into
work and preventing poverty now and for future
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