Llyr Gruffydd to highlight child poverty crisis in Wales in short debate today
Child poverty is in danger of becoming “normalised” in Wales as a result of Welsh Government inaction, Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd has warned.
28% of children in Wales – nearly one third, live in poverty, and independent reports indicate this figure could rise to 250,000 in Wales by 2021. Last December the Welsh Government announced it would end its strategy to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
Llyr Gruffydd AM and Plaid Cymru shadow cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning will today lead a short debate at the National Assembly for Wales on Child Poverty.
Speaking before the debate, Llyr Gruffydd AM said,
“The lack of clear strategy, targets or ambition to eradicate child poverty raises serious questions about the priorities of this Welsh government.
“What we have seen is the scrapping of the Communities First programme, scrapping the school uniform grants – which was reversed due to mass public outcry – , proposed changes to Free School Meals, and a postcode lottery childcare offer which fails to address the needs of families of people living in poverty.
The Welsh Government have also refused to demand that some powers over welfare be devolved to Wales so that we could mitigate at least some of the worst elements of the UK Government’s Welfare reforms.
The sad truth is that Wales is now without a headline target or a pledge to eradicate child poverty by an identified future date, and it doesn’t seem like there’s an appetite to introduce a new headline target either. We find ourselves questioning if child poverty has become the norm now for many families, schools and communities in Wales.
Plaid Cymru believe that the focus should be on investing in children, prioritising early intervention and prevention, and tackling levels of child poverty. We will continue to press the Welsh Government to establish a child poverty delivery plan with ambitious milestones and targets, to drive the implementation of national strategy, which promotes evidenced programmes and services to ensure that no child is disadvantaged in realising their rights under the UNCRC because of family income.”