Money Wellness
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calendar icon06 Mar 2024

How the cost of living crisis is impacting Wales

Nearly half of people in Wales (48%) report that their mental health is being negatively affected by their financial position, the Bevan Foundation recently found after they conducted research into the effects the cost of living crisis on people in Wales.

 There hasn’t been significant national level deterioration in how households in Wales are managing with rising living costs nor in the number of people in debt, since the publication of their last Snapshot of Poverty report in July 2022.

 While this is positive, it doesn’t mean cost of living is easing up by any means. Families across Wales have been experiencing hardship across the winter, and the findings are dire.

 The report found: 

  • More than one in eight households (14%) either sometimes, often or always do not have enough for all the basics.
  • Four households in ten are going without heating in their home.
  • One in four people are eating smaller meals or skipping meals completely.
  • 28% of people are borrowing money, and 13% are in arrears on at least one of their bills.
  • 11% of people are concerned about the prospect of losing their home over the next three months.

 The worst hit in Wales are those on benefits, with the report showing that they’re five times as likely to report that they sometimes, often or always struggle to afford the basics as the general population. Disabled people with conditions that limit them have gone without heating their homes over the past three months, and 46% of social renters report they’ve had to cut back on food for themselves or skip meals over the last three months.

 It was found that households with children are twice as likely to be in debt because of the cost of living crisis, than those with no children, and adults under the age of 65 are more likely to be unable to afford the basics than those aged 65 and over. Unpaid carers are likely to be in debt.

 Help for people in Wales:

 It can be scary if you don’t have the money to cover essential costs, so we’ve pulled together a list of things on offer that may be able to offer you some help.

 Grants:

 If you’re struggling to pay for essentials, you may be able to get a grant that you won’t have to pay back.  Turn2Us is a UK wide charity that provides information and practical support to people in financial difficulty. They’ll match you with any grants you may be able to apply for. 

 Help to buy food:

 Food banks give people who urgently need help a few days’ supply of food, toiletries and baby items. They can also provide vouchers for gas and electricity if you’re on a prepayment meter.

 The Trussell Trust operates in Wales, and you’ll need to be referred by a local community organisation such as Citizens Advice or your GP. Contact your local food bank to find out how to get help.

 The Independent Food Aid Network can also tell you if there are any independent foodbanks in your area.

 Additionally, If you’re on certain benefits, your child might be able to get free school meals. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.

 Help with baby costs:

If you’re struggling to pay for essentials for your baby, a baby bank may be able to help. Just like foodbanks, you’ll need to be referred to get help. You may be able to get a referral from your midwife, support worker, health visitor, food bank, children’s centre or social worker.

 You can find your local baby bank by:

Help with bills:

You’ll  need to contact your energy supplier if you’re struggling to pay your bills. Energy providers must work with you to agree to a payment plan. Some energy providers will offer grants to help pay energy bills.

 Contact your water provider if you’re struggling to pay bills. Most water suppliers should have ways they can give you support through financial difficulty.  

 Help with rent and mortgages

 You should contact your landlord or letting agent if you’re struggling with rent payments. Tell them why you’re struggling to pay the full amount and offer them a payment plan you can currently afford. If you’re claiming housing benefit, or the housing element of universal credit, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, covering rent and deposit costs.

 For mortgages, contact your mortgage provider if you’ve missed any payments or you’re worried about future payments. Many lenders will have specialist support teams with different options you can choose such as a payment holiday, an interest only mortgage or a longer mortgage term.

 In debt?

 If you’re struggling to stay on top of your debts, before you do anything, you should get help from an expert. Our free debt advice is available to people all over the UK, online or over the phone. We’ll go through your finances in detail and explain your options. You might be surprised at the range of help available. We can:

  • check you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to
  • help you with budgeting
  • advise you on debt solutions

 There are various debt solutions available that reduce your monthly debt repayments and even write off some of your debt. We’ll let you know if any of them are suitable for you. All our advice is free. Some debt solutions are free, while others come with a fee. We’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision and, if we recommend a debt solution and you decide to go ahead, we’ll help get it set up.

 

 

Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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