Rhun ap Iorwerth warns of ‘winter of deepening hardship’ as Senedd returns after summer break
Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth has warned of a “winter of deepening hardship” as the Senedd returns after the summer break.
Accusing Labour and the Tories of “showing more interest in fighting each other than fighting for Wales,” he proposed a raft of measures that he said could be implemented quickly to mitigate the worst effects of hardship caused by the cost-of-living crisis.
With people seeing “bills increasing, real terms wages decreasing and faith in Government’s willingness to help evaporating.”
Mr ap Iorwerth’s proposals include:
Extending the Energy Bills Support Scheme to prevent more households from being dragged into fuel poverty this winter.
Fair wages so workers in Wales are properly remunerated.
Ensuring that core benefits will always cover the cost of basic essentials.
Introducing a Winter Heating Payment paid no matter how cold the weather gets.
Implementing a windfall tax on banks to fund a mortgage rescue scheme.
Legislating in Wales to stop unfair rent increases.
Speaking ahead of the first Senedd sitting since the summer recess, Mr ap Iorwerth said: “Wales needs politicians to be on their side when times are hard. I know that this isn’t as good as it gets for our nation and in this upcoming Senedd term.
“I will fight for a fairer Wales, a Wales that can fulfil its undoubted potential.
“The reality at the moment thanks to Tory chaos and Labour inaction is bills increasing, real terms wages decreasing and faith in government’s willingness to help evaporating.
“My positive vision for Wales has tackling inequalities at its heart. There’s no more important time to dig deep to seek that better future for Wales than a time like this when people need help most.
“Just last month, Citizens Advice warned that a record number of people in England and Wales are already seeking help for energy debt even before winter hits and that low-income households earning less than £29k will be the worst impacted when winter arrives.
“As a new parliamentary term gets underway, the Welsh and UK governments have a moral obligation to focus on preparing a comprehensive plan to support struggling households over the coming months.
“The UK Government must extend the Energy Bills Support Scheme, place a windfall tax on the banks to fund a mortgage rescue scheme, and pay fair wages in the public sector.
“At the same time, the Labour Welsh Government should legislate with immediate effect to stop unfair rent increases so that no one loses their home this winter.
“We’re ready to offer help and leadership to our communities and struggling families, but governments need to do so too.
“A failure to act by both governments will mean we face a winter of deepening hardship, with even more households driven into poverty, unable to make ends meet and accumulating more and more debt.
“As the Conservatives and Labour show more interest in fighting each other than in fighting for Wales, Plaid Cymru will continue to make the case for immediate action to help our communities through the difficult months ahead.”
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