South Wales West MS Sioned Williams has urged the Welsh Government to do more to mitigate against "destructive" Tory policies amid the growing rise in the cost of living.
Responding recently to a Senedd statement by the Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, Sioned Williams referred to statistics showing how the crisis is getting worse and urged the Welsh Government to take further action to help households that are struggling.
Sioned Williams, who is the Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Social Justice and Equalities, also welcomed the introduction of key Plaid Cymru policies aimed at tackling poverty and the cost of living, thanks to the Co-operation Agreement with the Welsh Government.
Sioned Williams MS said:
"A recent report by Barnardo's Cymru has underlined the extent and adverse impact of the cost-of-living crisis on families and children in Wales. Sixty-one per cent of parents said that their financial situation had deteriorated in the last four months. The high price of food was one of the biggest concerns, and young people mentioned that they could not afford to travel for education or work, or to meet their friends.
"A new report in The Guardian reveals that food price inflation is at the third highest level since 2008. The Westminster Government has a very significant responsibility for this—in refusing to ensure a welfare system that is fit for purpose, in refusing to increase the local housing allowance, and in cutting spending on public services until the holes in the safety net mean that more and more families are falling into poverty and crisis.
"I am very proud that the introduction of free school meals for primary school children and the expansion of free childcare are the products of the Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government. However, Plaid Cymru believes that there is more that the Welsh Government should be doing to mitigate against the effects of destructive Tory policies.
"Plaid Cymru supports some of Barnados Cymru's demands on the Welsh Government included in their report, such as accelerating the introduction of free school meals wherever possible, including giving immediate access to children whose parents receive universal credit, and extending free school meals to secondary schools as soon as possible, as the next step in the flagship policy stemming from the Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.
"Similarly, although the Government has agreed to increase the Education Maintenance Allowance, young people told Barnado's Cymru that £20 of that £40 is spent on bus journeys and therefore that there is a need to increase the allowance and look at the cost of transport for young people as a matter of urgency."
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