‘Debt Bonfire’ promised for people in Wales trapped in poverty
The Welsh Liberal Democrats have announced proposals that would see the debts of the poorest people in Wales written off.
Described by the party as a “Debt Bonfire” the scheme would see the Welsh Government purchase bad debt and cancel it for the most vulnerable in society.
Under the plans a specific and limited pot of funding would be made available to eradicate debt that has already been sold on to debt collection agencies.
Recent research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed Wales is disproportionately affected by debt – 8% to 6% for the UK as a whole – and found low pay, unaffordable housing and a lack of childcare was trapping 700,000 people in poverty, including 180,000 children.
“As we come out of the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic one thing is clear, the pandemic exposed rife inequalities in our society,” Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said.
“Creating a ‘Debt Bonfire’ would help so many residents in Wales who need support at the fraction of a cost.
“We know our country is disproportionately affected by debt compared to the rest of the UK, that’s why we’d use this funding to free people from the economic insecurity that is faced with debt collecting. This is part of our plan to create a fairer, more caring society that puts recovery first.”
Other proposals outlined by the party ahead of next Thursday’s Senedd election include:
- Spending £1billion a year to tackle the climate emergency;
- Building 30,000 new social housing properties;
- A £500million investment in our high streets, towns and city centres;
- Undertake a trial of UBI (Universal Basic Income) in Wales;
- Freezing Business rates for five years and replace them with a fairer, more supportive system; and
- Introduce universal free part-time childcare from 9 months to school age, and expand provision of before and after school care.