Mark Drakeford putting the Union above addressing Welsh poverty, Plaid Cymru say
A Plaid Cymru Senedd Member has said that the First Minister is putting the “sanctity of the Union” ahead of introducing a welfare system that would get to grips with Wales’ poverty.
Luke Fletcher was responding to comments made by Mark Drakeford on Radio 4 this morning in which the First Minister said that there were “some things that you need to do at a UK level because those are the things that keep the UK together”.
The First Minister added that “a redistributive tax and benefits system, are for me among the reasons for wanting to belong and live in the United Kingdom”.
“There are many things we are able to do with our own powers, but a tax and benefits system that operates across the UK, so that wherever you live you have a guarantee that you will not fall below that basic minimum, is part of what makes the UK worthwhile,” he added.
South Wales West Senedd Member Luke Fletcher however said that Wales would not be able to effectively tackle the cost of living crisis amid rising inflation and stagnant wages unless it had power over welfare.
“If the First Minister was less concerned over protecting the sanctity of the Union and more concerned with addressing the root causes of inequality, he’d see that it’s precisely the lack of power over the tax and welfare systems that means we in Wales can do little more than treat the symptoms of poverty,” Luke Fletcher said.
“The cost of living crisis will soon overtake Covid as the biggest threat to our people in 2022. All the while powers needed to safeguard the people of Wales from this looming crisis sit with the UK Government, Wales will be powerless to help our most vulnerable unless we do what the First Minister seems so reluctant to do – get that power over our taxes and our welfare system.
“In putting the needs of the Union first, this puts the needs of Wales, and our people, into second place.”
Recent research by the Bevan Foundation showing that the total number of households in Wales struggling to cover the cost of everyday essentials has increased to approximately 110,000.
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