Number of households ‘equivalent to the whole of Swansea’ already struggling amid cost of living crisis
A number of households in Wales “equivalent to the whole of Swansea” are already struggling to buy everyday essentials as the cost of items and utilities rise faster than stagnating wages, a Senedd Member has said.
Plaid Cymru will today in the Senedd call on the Welsh Government to publish an emergency cost-of-living action plan to tackle the pressures caused by the twin problems of surging costs and stagnating wages.
Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for social justice and equalities has called for Welsh Government to publish an emergency cost-of-living action plan as a “matter of urgency.”
She pointed to 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.
“Thousands of households in Wales – equivalent to the whole of Swansea – are already struggling to pay for everyday items,” she said.
“This crisis is not just looming – it’s already landed for too many Welsh households. Rising cost of living, increasing energy costs and stagnating wages are all in the maelstrom of what’s being called the ‘perfect storm.’
She added that with rising energy costs and tax hikes approaching in Spring 2022, the predicted £1,200 additional costs will prove a “leap too far” for those who are already at a socio-economic disadvantage.
“With precious few months to go before the energy price rise cap is raised, Welsh Government must act with the appropriate urgency in tackling this imminent crisis, and publish an emergency action plan,” she said.
“While many of the levers are in the hands of the Tory government in Westminster, it’s up to us in Wales to protect people from the brunt of the storm.”
Plaid Cymru’s motion tabled today calls on the Welsh Government to publish an emergency cost-of-living action plan to tackle the pressures caused by the twin problems of surging costs and stagnating wages.
Speaking in the Senedd yesterday, the First Minister Mark Drakeford said that Wales was facing a “cost-of-living catastrophe”.
“The good news, Llywydd, is that the £100 that the Welsh Government is making available through the winter fuel payment scheme has not just been welcomed by organisations like Citizens Advice, but it’s been enormously taken up by individual households as well,” he said.
“As of 31 December, with returns from 20 of the 22 local authorities, more than 100,000 applications had already been received by local authorities, and it’s a tribute to those local authorities that more than 33,500 of those applications have already been paid out.
“Now, I hope that, by today, that number will be even higher, both in terms of applications and payments. When those payments are being made, Llywydd, what I want to see is that the opportunity is taken to make sure that people know the wider set of help that is available to them, both through energy advice and through benefit advice as well.
“We need to take every opportunity, particularly when we are in contact with thousands and thousands of Welsh citizens, to make sure that we take that chance to make sure that there are other sources of help that we can offer them and that they get to know about it.”
In its outlook of the last quarter of 2021, the Resolution Foundation said that: “Real wages are already falling, and look likely to continue doing so through the majority of 2022. Against that backdrop, the Government’s current intention is for taxes and energy bills combined to rise overnight by an average of £1,200 per household in April.”