A NEW report showing that almost a third of Welsh children are living in relative poverty has prompted Ceredigion MP Ben Lake to call for Wales to take control over welfare administration.

The data released by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) show Wales has among the highest rates of children living in relative poverty (29 per cent), with the rate in Wales five per cent higher than the 24 per cent in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Relative poverty means a household earns less than 60% of the UK median income.

The UK Government figures also show a continuing rise of in-work poverty. Over half of children in material deprivation are living in households where at least one adult is employed.

On incomes, the DWP data shows that Wales has the lowest median earnings in the UK. Over the 2017/18 financial year, Welsh workers took home £408 per week compared with £421, £436 and £448 per week for workers in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland respectively.

These latest figures are consistent with research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2018, which found there were 710,000 people in Wales living in poverty, including 185,000 children, 405,000 working-age adults and 120,000 pensioners.

The report said rising living costs, especially housing costs, combined with cuts to working age benefits and poor quality jobs had led to an increased risk of living in poverty for families both in and out of work.

Mr Lake said: “Child poverty robs our young people of a proper childhood and destroys life chances before they’ve even begun.

“Children in Wales are going to school hungry because of ideologically-driven cuts to social security.

“Plaid Cymru has consistently opposed Westminster’s welfare attacks and we firmly believe that responsibility over the administration of social security should be devolved to Wales so that we can create a system fit for the needs of our nation.”