Policy Forum for Wales

Reducing poverty in Wales - welfare reform, local approaches and long-term strategies

Morning, Thursday, 28th March 2019

Central Cardiff


This conference will discuss latest thinking on policy and wider initiatives for reducing poverty in Wales - with a focus on welfare reform, regional approaches and long-term strategies.

Discussion will reflect key themes and issues emerging as policymakers scrutinise developments and consider practical ways forward for policy, and will assess the impact of policy initiatives themselves.

It takes place following the series of inquiries into poverty in Wales by the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee on how government resources can best be used to reduce poverty long-term - and how the economic strategy plan should be applied to address inequalities and broaden the impact of economic growth.

Delegates will discuss the recommendations, and the response from the Welsh Government which included an agreement in principle to deliver a single joined-up implementation plan to tie together the Employability Plan, Economic Action Plan and the overarching Prosperity for All strategy, and to set markers for progress.

We expect discussion on the impact of the Universal Credit (UC) roll-out so far and its future shape of UC.

It follows the decision of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to make changes to the distribution of payments and delay full migration of welfare claimants into the new system until 2020, in order to pilot the switch and further address concerns.

The seminar also follows a recent high court decision which upheld claimants’ challenge regarding the fluctuations in payments for workers with variable monthly incomes and after the Equality and Human Rights Commission reported that welfare reform is likely to push up to 50,000 more children into poverty and put further pressure on local authorities.

Further sessions examine progress on locally-focused strategies to tackle the root causes of poverty in light of the end of the Communities First programme - including priorities for improving access to housing for workless families and those on low incomes.

It also comes after the Public Services Boards publish their Well-being plans, which look at long-term and regional early intervention strategies that can be implemented to prevent poverty arising, and the approaches available to local authorities - with a case study from Preston City Council.

We also expect discussion on the role that newer forms of work arrangements, including flexible working, could play in tackling the root causes of poverty, especially amongst women with young children.

This comes following a further inquiry by the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee into parenting and employment in Wales and the announcement by the Welsh Government of a further £2m to help tackle child poverty.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Victoria Winckler

Wales Adviser, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Keynote Speaker

Dr Victoria Winckler

Wales Adviser, Joseph Rowntree Foundation


Leanne Wood AM

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Housing and Social Justice

Mark Isherwood AM

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government


Councillor Mary Sherwood

Cabinet Member, Better Communities, Swansea Council and Joint Spokesperson for Equalities, Welfare Reform and Anti-Poverty, WLGA

Simon Green

Chairperson, Bridgend Coalition of Disabled People and Elected Director, Disability Wales

Dr Martin Elliott

ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, Cardiff University

Councillor Matthew Brown

Leader, Preston City Council

Hazel Lloyd-Lubran

Chief Executive, Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations and Member, Ceredigion Public Services Board

Lisa Charles

Interim Head, Inclusion and Support, Bron Afon Community Housing

Eleri Butler

Chief Executive, Welsh Women’s Aid

Senior speaker confirmed from Cardiff Capital Region Regional Skills Partnership

Gareth Morgan

Chair, Welfare Rights Advisers Cymru

Sarah Mutch

Early Years Manager, Caerphilly County Borough Council

Dr Bob Smith

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University