Plaid Cymru says delay to child poverty strategy “beyond disappointing”

“While Labour fails to even manage to write a strategy, child poverty remains a national scandal for Wales” – Sioned Williams MS

Sioned Williams MS Plaid Cymru spokesperson for social justice and equalities has today expressed her “deep disappointment” at the lack of a child poverty strategy, despite Welsh Government promises that this would be published before the end of 2023.

Sioned Williams is seated on stage, addressing someone who is off camera but to the left of the image

In her question today (Wednesday 13 December) to the Social Justice Minister, Ms Williams noted that this time last year - on the last day of Senedd business before the Christmas recess - Plaid Cymru tabled a motion calling on Welsh Government to develop a child poverty strategy, underpinned by statutory targets, “as a matter of urgency”.

Ms Williams noted that the debate had been in response to those who campaign against poverty, such as the Child Poverty Action Group, the Children’s Commissioner, the Bevan Foundation, and Save the Children – and their repeated calls for a new strategy, with targets, to give better focus, co-ordination and to drive the imperative work that needs to be done to eradicate child poverty.

Labour voted the motion down, instead voting for their amendment which promised a strategy by the end of 2023.

In response to Sioned Williams in the Senedd today, Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt insisted that tackling child poverty remained a priority for Welsh Government.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for social justice and equalities, Sioned Williams MS said:

“It’s really hard to accept the narrative that eradicating child poverty is a priority for the Welsh Government, because, while they insist it’s important to them, here we are at the end of another year with no strategy to tackle it.

“While the First Minister has previously said that writing strategies is not going to put food on anyone’s table, his Labour colleague who chairs the Equality and Social Justice Committee states in a newly published report on child poverty that the ‘evidence is clear’ that ‘targets work’.

“Meanwhile, while Labour fails to even manage to write a strategy, child poverty levels in Wales remain stubbornly high. The fact that there hasn’t been targets in place to tackle this since 2016, despite a government commitment to eradicate this by 2020, is a national scandal.

“How can something be a ‘priority’ that keeps being pushed back? The Welsh Government seriously needs to up its game in order to work more effectively and strategically using the powers and resources it has to tackle the shameful levels of child poverty in Wales.”

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