Issue date
15 Feb 2018

The Wales TUC blames UK government policies like the public sector pay cap for a near 50% increase in Welsh families pushed into poverty since 2010. The trade union organisation’s analysis found that:

In eight years, UK government policies on public sector pay, tax and social security have resulted in a 46% increase in the number of public sector workers’ children living in poverty in Wales.

The research shows that in Wales: 

  • The number of public sector workers’ children living in poverty has risen by almost 10,000 in less than a decade.
  • The families of public sector workers are £44 - £90 a week worse off.

    Martin Mansfield, General Secretary of the Wales TUC said:

    “The real cost of this UK Government infatuation with austerity is almost 10,000 more children of Welsh public sector workers living in poverty.

    “The dedicated people who provide our vital services like health and education shouldn’t have to worry about affording food, heating and other essentials for themselves and their families.  We should be valuing their role properly not cutting their real pay year after year after year.

    “These shocking figures can’t be ignored. The UK Government must act immediately – lift the pay cap, support our public sector workforce and give the Welsh Government fair funding for devolved public services.”

    • Around 1 in 7 children (31,231) living with a public sector worker in their family will be below the poverty line this April – an increase of 46% since 2010 – six percentage points higher than the UK average.
    • Families where both parents work in the public sector are the biggest financial losers from the government’s policies. For these workers, their average household income will be around £90 a week lower in real terms by April 2018.
    • Households where one parent works in the public sector and another works in the private sector will lose on average £44 a week.
Editors note

Notes to editors:

Increase in number of children living in poverty with public sector parent since 2010


Number of children in poverty under 2010 system

Number of children in poverty by 2018 under government policies

Extra children in poverty by 2018 (000s)

Extra children in poverty by 2018 (%)
















Northern Ireland










Weekly cash loss from government policies

Household type

Overall weekly loss (UK)

Overall weekly loss (Wales)

Public sector workers only



Public and private sector workers



– The public sector pay analysis is modelled on real wages falling by 13.3% between 2010 and 2018 for workers in health and education, and by 14.3% for workers in public administration.

– The analysis includes all tax and social security measures introduced under the 2010-15 coalition government and subsequent conservative governments, including Universal Credit.

– An individual is considered to be in relative poverty if their household income is less than 60% of median income. The figures quoted here all refer to After Housing Costs relative poverty.