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Number of households ‘equivalent to the whole of Swansea’ already struggling amid cost of living crisis

19 Jan 2022 3 minute read
Picture by Save the Children

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.”

‘Help’

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.”


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hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago

Very worthy of Plaid Cymru who …..”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.” However Drakeford has not got much room for manouvre as his budget is already at a stretch and he’s unlikely to ditch his commitments to managing the Covid crisis and the eyewatering proportion of spend aimed at attaining zero carbon. The real key is to get UK Gov to get shifting on dumping the green levy and taxes on electricity and gas… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

How does cutting government income help those claiming benefits? The biggest beneficiaries of the cuts you choose would be the wealthiest. Those using most, gain most. The first thing that the Welsh government could do is to fund advice centres to enable the £20Bn or more of unclaimed means tested benefits in the UK to be accessed. Research estimated some 7.5M families could gain in the UK and as the poorest part Wales could gain disproportionately. A million UK pensioner households, a million which could get housing benefit, 2.8M households could get council tax reductions. It is a good start… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

Kerry It’s not an either or choice, is it ? . Both programmes could be run at the same time. If a reducing government income is an issue then increase the tax rates on higher incomes and shut the myriad tax loopholes that are only of relevance to the very rich. We must ease the cost burden on the consumption of basics and that includes fuel for people who have to travel to work, or access essential services from some of the “awkward” places we live in etc etc. Waiting for the ideal new world where we are shuttled from… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
8 months ago

That’s what you get for 100yrs of labour government in Wales

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