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New map reveals scale of Wales’ cost of living crisis – check your own area

06 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Left, the UK Financial Vulnerability Index. Right, picture by Peter Byrne / PA Wire.

A newly updated interactive map has revealed the scale of Wales’ cost of living crisis.

The data by debt collection firm Lowell suggests that much in Wales, in particular, is facing concerning financial hardship, most worryingly a surging use of credit to pay for goods or services because disposable funds are low.

Lowell’s searchable ‘UK Financial Vulnerability Index’ tool, created in conjunction with Urban Institute, shows how households are faring financially in different areas.

The map shows the share of adults without emergency savings, in default, using social benefits, and other metrics.

While Wales’ position has improved in some areas during the pandemic, such as the number of consumers with high cost loans, others have worsened, such as average credit use.

It adds up to an average Financial Vulnerability Score of 45.9 for Wales, with many parts of the country – Swansea East, Aberavon, Rhondda, Cynon Valley, and Blaenau Gwent – with scores of over 50,

Montgomeryshire is deemed the least financially vulnerable part of Wales, with Brecon, Cardiff North and Radnorshire and Monmouthshire also with scores of under 40.

Wales is the nation of the UK with the highest vulnerability score at 45.9, but some individual regions of England – including the West Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the North East – have higher scores in isolation.

You can check your own area here.

Wales on the financial vulnerability index

John Pears, UK chief executive at Lowell, said: “The cost of living is increasing across the board and households are having to fork out more money to pay for essentials like food and bills.

“With the rising cost of living stretching budgets to their limit, people are turning to credit more and more.

“For many now, a single income shock can be enough to push a household into problem debt. People need help to reduce costs.

“The new government needs to take action to ensure households, especially the lowest incomes, get the support they need. With the recent changes to the price cap, bringing energy bills down has to be the priority. This needs to be at the top of the agenda.’

Signe-Mary McKernan, vice president at the Urban Institute, said: “While the share of adults claiming social benefits and using high-cost loans has declined, families are likely using credit to keep up with the increased cost of living.

“Financial vulnerability is currently lower, but looking ahead, there are concerning signs that families in the UK may be balancing on the edge of a financial cliff.”


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Cwm Rhondda
Cwm Rhondda
24 days ago

Yet again we see the south Wales valleys being amongst the worst off. It has been like this for the last 100 years. There is clearly something politically dysfunctional about the valleys. Why do people in the valleys blindly vote Labour? The majority (and for many years myself) vote for Labour, a party which has clearly let the people of the south Wales valleys down. As a representative of Plaid Cymru I attended this year’s local election vote count. I watched the blue-suited labour party councillors celebrate retaining power of the local authority. I couldn’t help thinking, why celebrate retaining… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Cwm Rhondda
Dai Rob
Dai Rob
24 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

Simple, they don’t trust Plaid. Plaid are seen by many as purely a party of Remain….and not much else!

Dewi Davies
Dewi Davies
24 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

No they have no shame.I remember all to well when Lord Peter (abolish the house of lords Hain)was laughing and joking with the media when he opened a food bank in his constituency. As if it was some great gift.Couldnt see what the joke was myself.

Krag
Krag
23 days ago
Reply to  Cwm Rhondda

I have backed plaid a lot but when I see you siding with Labour and some of it’s terrible decision making who am I to vote for?

Ann
Ann
24 days ago

“The data by debt collection firm Lowell suggests that much in Wales, in particular, is facing concerning financial hardship, most worryingly a surging use of credit to pay for goods or services because disposable funds are low.”
I can’t begin to make sense of this paragraph!

Ap Kenneth
24 days ago

If 60% of adults have no savings at all then any financial shock, bills, repairs, whatever, leaves them in a vulnerable state. But that is a consequence of an economy that does not value its people, and forgets that people are the bedrock on which an economy is built. You only have to look at Iceland or the Faroe Islands to see how they have built resilience from almost nothing.

Benjiman Angwin
Benjiman Angwin
24 days ago

Wales iz not powerless. One thing we can do is have our Councils lower our high business rates, so folks’ shops can keep going and cash circulates in our towns. We also control grants we can use for youth start up businesses.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
24 days ago

Google is your friend, use it.

Business rates are set by central government, which sets the multiplier, a pence in the pound value which is then applied to the rateable value…

Local taxation: council tax and business rates | Local Government Association

Benjiman Angwin
Benjiman Angwin
24 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Non-Domestic Rates are set in Wales.

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
24 days ago

I have been saying for years that the labour party have been taking Wales for granted the tremendous amount of money that was made in Wales from COAL IRON and SLATE where has it all gone how is it possible that we in Wales have allowed all that wealth to go out of Wales.. And the labour party has been in power in Wales for most of the time Why do the Welsh people still vote for the labour party . how did they let Scotland have control over the Crown estate money and not fight for the same for… Read more »

Krag
Krag
23 days ago

It would be nice to see our government bring work to the Rhondda valleys not just roads to get us to Cardiff. Opposite to what people like to say about us we are full of hard workers but are having to pollute our planet, spend our money and time commuting to the Capital. A ready workforce, just get the work here and some healthcare would be nice too. We are the forgotten people. Btw I do not mean Rhondda Cynon Taff where the money never reaches us, but the Rhondda.

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