UK Government taking ‘deliberate decisions’ that plunge Welsh children into poverty says First Minister
Wales’ First Minister has accused the UK Government of taking “deliberate decisions” that ensured that more children in Wales would live in poverty.
Answering a question in the Senedd about the cuts to universal credit and the rising cost of living, Mark Drakeford rejected the idea by another Senedd Member that the UK Government’s handling of the economy was down to “incompetence”.
“I think he’s generous to describe the policies of the Conservative Government as the result of incompetence,” Mark Drakeford said.
“My view is that they are very often the deliberate decisions of a Government that knows what it is doing, knows that there will be thousands more children in poverty in Wales because of their cuts to universal credit, but simply don’t care.”
He made the comments after saying that Welsh households on universal credit and other working-age benefits would be offered a £100 one-off payment this winter to help with fuel bills.
The Welsh government said it expected 350,000 households to benefit from the £38m winter fuel support scheme.
Mark Drakeford contrasted the UK Government which “decided to rip up the social fund, the final safety net of the welfare state” with the Welsh Government which had “decided to invest in a Welsh scheme that is the same across the whole of Wales,”.
His comments came after the latest UK Government figures showed that 168,600 children in Wales were in families who received Universal Credit and therefore hit by the £20 cut announced by UK Government Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Welsh Conservative finance spokesman Peter Fox said said that it was not their fault that so many people in Wales lived in poverty.
“Labour have been in power for the past 22 years and sadly it’s left Wales with the lowest take home pay in Britain, and the most people living in poverty in the UK,” he said.
“The Conservative government is helping families meet the cost of living and supporting vulnerable households by reducing the universal credit taper rate from 63p to 55p, as well as raising the national living wage to £9.50.”