An influential think-tank has warned that families struggling to make ends meet has become the new normal in Wales.

New insights gathered by YouGov on behalf of the Bevan Foundation have revealed that families across Wales are still struggling to make ends meet, with one in eight (13 per cent) sometimes, often or always struggling to afford the essentials.

With no sign that the grip of the cost-of-living crisis is easing on Welsh communities, the Bevan Foundation are concerned that higher levels of financial hardship are becoming the “new normal” in Wales.

Speaking on behalf of the Bevan Foundation, Dr Steffan Evans said: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, people going hungry or going cold has become normalised in many Welsh communities. The impact of this has been devastating.

“For example, our new data shows 44 per cent of people reporting that their financial position has had a negative impact on their mental health, and 30 per cent reporting the same about their physical health.”

Across Wales more than three in ten people (31 per cent) report that they are going without heating in their home whilst a quarter of people (24 per cent) report that they are eating smaller meals or skipping meals in their entirety as they struggle to manage their finances.

“Others have been pushed into debt, with 28 per cent of people borrowing money and 13 per cent being in arrears on a bill.

Families with children under 18 are finding life especially difficult.

“Not only are 40 per cent of parents of a child under 18 going without heating in their home, but a staggering 22 per cent reported that their child has not had the birthday party they wanted due to their financial position.

“Significant minorities of children are also missing out on sports lessons (21 per cent) or music lessons (18 per cent) with the majority of those missing out missing out on a regular basis.

Dr Evans added: “Accessing activities such as sport or music are fundamental to children’s education and social development as well as for creating happy childhood memories.

“The number of parents reporting that their children are missing out on such activities is worryingly high.

“The fact that so many children are missing out on these activities is likely to have a significant impact on the health and wealth of the people of Wales for years to come.”