Welsh Committee launches benefits inquiry

The House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry examining the benefits system in Wales. The new inquiry comes following a period of unprecedented challenge for the benefits system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee is inviting written evidence responding to the following questions:

  1. What are the key challenges for the benefits system in Wales and how do they differ from the other nations and regions of the UK?
  2. Pre-pandemic, how effectively did the UK benefits system tackle poverty and socio-economic inequalities in Wales as compared to England and Scotland?
  3. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the type and amount of support needed by people in Wales?
  4. How effectively has the UK benefits system responded to these needs, and what else should the UK Government do to deliver the right support in Wales?
  5. How effectively do the Welsh Government’s allowances and grants meet the particular needs of people in Wales?
  6. What reforms are needed to the benefits system and should there be further devolution of powers?
  7. How effectively do the UK and Welsh Governments work together in the delivery of benefits in Wales?
  8. What are the implications of the Universal Basic Income pilot in Wales?

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 10 August, and more information can be found here.

May Labour Market Update For Wales

ERSA Wales

Labour market overview for Wales (April 2021 release)


In the latest labour market data available for Wales, the employment rate in Wales was 73.2 per cent. This is 0.8 percentage points up on the quarter, but 0.8 percentage points down on the year. September to November 2020 showed the largest annual decrease since June to August 2009, and the second largest annual decrease since comparable records began in 1992.


The employment rate in the UK is generally higher than in Wales over the last 10 years.


The unemployment rate for Wales was 4.8 per cent, the highest rate since October to December 2017. This is 0.1 percentage points up on the quarter, and 1.1 percentage points up on the year. However, it is also below the wider UK unemployment rate, of 4.9 per cent:


The unemployment rate has decreased overall in both Wales and the UK over the last 4 years, but has increased over the last couple of months


The economic inactivity rate in Wales was 23.0 per cent. This is 1.0 percentage points down on the quarter and 0.1 percentage points down on the year. This is the first annual decrease since April to June 2019. In contrast, the UK economic inactivity rate was 20.9 per cent, the largest annual increase since February to April 2010.

The economic inactivity rate has steadily decreased in the UK over the last 4 years but has fluctuated in Wales.


You can find this data and more in full here, but it is worth highlighting that the next labour market data release is scheduled for Tuesday 18 May, so keep an eye out for that over the coming week for the very latest figures on the labour market in Wales (or bookmark this page for easy access on the day).