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