Poverty is a major problem in rural Wales, according to Mark Goodwin of Aberystwyth University's Institute of Earth Studies.
He has just completed a survey of 1,000 households, and has found that up to 44 per cent of the rural population survive on less than Pounds 8,000 a year. As a result, the survey is urging the creation of new, well paid, full-time jobs in the countryside so that the population will not have to be so dependent on seasonal or part-time employment.
Housing, transport and telecommuncations also emerge as major concerns, and Dr Goodwin is calling on the Welsh Office, local authorities and enterprise agencies to address these problems.
Greater provision of affordable housing, better public transport and more telephones are among the suggested solutions.
Dr Goodwin was surprised to find more than 10 per cent of households in three communities surveyed lacked a private telephone. And up to 30 per cent of those people had to trek a quarter of a mile to a payphone. His research is financed by the Welsh Office, and a book based on the project will be published next year.