The Cost of Living in Rural Wales

September 2022 | Featured, Rural poverty

gray house surrounded with mountain

The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee  of the Welsh Parliament, recently (July 2022) published the report, Cost of living pressures. Publication followed a wide-ranging  inquiry into the challenges facing people living in rural Wales.

The impact of the increased costs of heating fuel, especially on people living in rural off-grid properties and in older less energy efficient houses was of particular concern. UK Government figures estimate  that 74% of properties in Ceredigion are not connected to the national gas network.

The Committee was interested in Scottish research that estimated  that being in remote rural  areas adds 15 to 30 per cent to a household budget, compared with urban areas.

The report recommends that Welsh Government should  support off-grid households through the winter by extending their ability to access support via the Discretionary Assistance Fund or the Fuel Voucher scheme. The Committee references the recommendations of the Equality and Social Justice Committee report on Fuel Poverty and the Warm Homes Programme.

Welsh Government is urged to work with third sector partners to  explore a “Warm Hubs” Initiative along the lines of that run in Northumberland. The initiative provides warm safe places for people to meet.

The Committee recommends that more detailed research should be undertaken around the “rural premium” and the different effects of the increased cost of living in rural and urban communities.

Welsh Government is yet to respond to the report.

The full report can be read here.

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