Income and Poverty

In-work poverty in Gwynedd

Commissioned by: Gwynedd Council

  • Published 15th Aug 2018
  • Authors: Peter Kenway, , Issy Petrie, , Adam Tinson,
  • Category: Income and Poverty

This report examines in-work poverty in the rural, urban, coastal and post-industrial districts of Gwynedd. Commissioned by Gwynedd Council, the report is available in English (download here) and Welsh (download here).

The views expressed in the report are those of the NPI alone. Nothing contained in the report should be taken as constituting Gwynedd Council policy.

Mae'r adroddiad hwn wedi'i lunio i helpu Cyngor Gwynedd i ddeall tlodi mewn gwaith yn Ardaloedd Cymunedau yn Gyntaf ac ar draws y sir. Mae’n edrych ar bwy mae hyn yn effeithio ac ar yr heriau sy’n wynebu’r bobl sy’n profi hyn. Ar ôl cyflwyno’r ystadegau, mae'r adroddiad yn defnyddio ymchwil ansoddol i gynnig arweiniad ynghylch amcanion y Cyngor wrth iddo ystyried sut mae ymateb a nodi cwestiynau penodol i ganolbwyntio arnynt.

Safbwyntiau’r NPI yn unig yw’r rheini a fynegir yn yr adroddiad. Ni ddylid ystyried bod unrhyw beth a nodir yn yr adroddiad yn rhan o bolisi Cyngor Gwynedd.

Statistical findings

  • Across Wales, just under half of those in poverty are in in-work poverty. Barriers to women’s engagement with the labour market are crucial.
  • Most people in poverty in Gwynedd are in a working family. Overall levels of poverty in the county are below the Welsh average but working families make up an above-average share.
  • There is a contrast between the two parliamentary constituencies. A higher share of the population experience in-work poverty in Dwyfor Meirionnydd (more rural and coastal) than Arfon (more urban). They are also on average older are more likely to be private tenants.

Qualitative findings

Local interviews provided insight into the problems faced by low income working families in Gwynedd.

  • The seasonal nature of employment in Gwynedd is a concern for employees and employers.
  • Contracts offering work for 16 hours a week are widespread.
  • Housing close to summer employment can be in short supply.
  • Seasonal employment can lead to a build-up of debt in the low season.
  • Difficulty getting to a job is a barrier to working longer hours or even at all.

Objectives and actions

Supporting people experiencing in-work poverty is not just about helping them to escape it. Things that improve the situation while still in in-work poverty are worthwhile; time matters as well as money. Low-income working families can be in a precarious position: stopping things getting worse matters too.

Five suggested priorities are:

    1. Understand why 16-hour contracts are so prevalent and popular.
    2. Train local workers for the specialist skills (such as catering) that seasonal employers find harder to fill.
    3. Focus on upskilling those returning to work, usually women, after a spell away.
    4. Review the accessibility of public services used by low income, working families
    5. Promote debt advice and review debt collection policies. Low income families mainly owe money to the public sector utility companies.

Local concerns should determine where effort is directed. The five priorities apply across Gwynedd but rural and coastal areas would benefit especially from better accessibility – priority 4 – while urban areas and market towns would gain a lot from priority 2, aimed at young workers and school leavers.

About this report
This report was funded by Gwynedd Council and written by Peter Kenway, Issy Petrie and Adam Tinson. The facts presented and views expressed in this report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Gwynedd Council. The report is available in Welsh (Full Report) and English (Summary).