Plaid Cymru calls for action to help ‘left behind communities’ in aftermath of Ely riot
Plaid Cymru’s acting leader Llyr Gruffydd has called for a “clear and coherent vision” to reduce the number of people “trapped in poverty in Wales”.
A lack of understanding and action to address the needs of ‘left behind communities’ by Welsh and UK Ministers has torn the social fabric of people’s square mile, he added.
Reflecting on last month’s riot in Ely, Mr Gruffydd said that while criminality cannot be excused it should be better understood citing the erosion of social infrastructure as a potential contributing factor to the disturbance following the tragic death of two teenagers last month.
He also accused the Welsh Government of “taking little discerning action” to tackle the root causes of deprivation at a time when the UK Government had “turned a blind eye to crippling levels of poverty.”
His comments come following the publication of new figures published yesterday by Loughborough University which show that one in five children in every county in Wales live in poverty.
Speaking ahead of First Ministers Questions, when he is expected to raise the issue, Mr Gruffydd said: “We were all shaken by the tragic events that unfolded in Ely last month.
“The erosion of social infrastructure is a potential contributing factor to the disturbances and the events of two weeks ago, and those witnessed in the Mayhill area of Swansea in 2021, show that the challenges of tackling deprivation and fostering community cohesion are not confined to one particular postcode.
“Child poverty, low-paid work or lack of employment, and poor relations between the police and the community are national problems which require national solutions.
“The First Minister is right to question whether there was more the Welsh Government could have done for communities like Ely.
“In 2021 the charity ‘Mind’ implored Welsh Ministers to develop a community strategy that address barriers faced by certain groups so that all can benefit from living in resilient communities.
“Regrettably no discernible action has been taken.
“The re-introduction of child poverty targets, would re-focus the attention of decision makers and as the Bevan Foundation argued, provide an opportunity to develop a clear and coherent vision of how it intends to reduce the number of people trapped in poverty in Wales.
“We should be striving for better than simply ‘mitigating’ the worst excesses of a callous and out of touch UK Government which is turning a blind eye to crippling levels of poverty, and instead seek the powers that can actually unlock tangible and lasting improvements to the lives of the most vulnerable sectors of our society.
“Doing nothing will not address the concerns of communities who feel betrayed and neglected by Labour and Conservative governments.
“The experiences of the past 13 years have conclusively underlined the need for the further devolution of powers over welfare here in Wales, in line with the powers already exercised by the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.”
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