A recent study revealed that those living in rural communities in the Arfon area of Gwynedd are adversely affected by the Cost-of-Living Crisis.
In the Senedd, Sian Gwenllian MS has referenced the Bevan Foundation’s new report, Poverty in Arfon in the 21st century: Modern solutions for an old challenge for Wales.
According to the Bevan Foundation:
“Poverty is a problem in all communities across Wales.
“One in five people (21 per cent) lived in poverty in Wales between 2019-20 and 2021-22.
“Despite this, there is very little data available about poverty below national level, which means that the impact of local factors on poverty can sometimes be overlooked.”
The report, commissioned by Hywel Williams, Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon finds that two main factors account for higher level of poverty in the region, one of those being that local employment opportunities are characterised by low pay and insecure work.
Secondly, residents of Arfon face a cost of living premium because of high housing, energy and travel costs, issues exacerbated by the rurality of the area.
And last week Siân Gwenllian MS, the constituency’s representative in the Senedd quizzed the relevant Minister on what the Welsh Government is doing to deal with the cost-of-living premium facing residents in rural communities in Arfon.
According to Siân Gwenllian:
“What this report reveals is that a situation which is very difficult for many in any case affects those living in rural as well as urban settings.
“The factors that lead to rural poverty range from substandard public transport infrastructure to the higher than usual cost of energy because of the poor condition of the housing stock.
“These are challenges in which the Government can be proactive in mitigating their effects.
“That’s why I asked Jane Hutt MS as the Minister for Social Justice whether her Government’s policies adequately takes this rural cost-of-living premium into consideration?”
In her response Jane Hutt MS welcomed the report and pledged to continue to target her Government’s support to those who need it the most. Hutt said the Welsh Government needed “to learn from this report as far as not just addressing that in terms of the cost-of-living premium for Arfon, but also for Wales.”