Wales ‘can’t afford to wait for progressive UK Government’ say Plaid in welfare devolution call
Wales “can’t afford” to wait for more progressive politics in England, Plaid Cymru has warned, as they called for the Welsh Government to push for the devolution of welfare.
The First Minister has previously said that he does not want welfare to be devolved to Wales, despite opposing Westminster cuts, because it was part of the “glue that holds the United Kingdom together”.
However, Plaid Cymru Spokesperson for Social Justice and Equalities, Sioned Williams MS, called the UK Government’s welfare policies “callous” and warned they would “push thousands into deeper poverty”.
On 6 July, the Department for Work and Pensions admitted in response to a Plaid Cymru written question that no assessment had been made of the impact of ending the £20 Universal Credit uplift on child poverty in Wales.
Sioned Williams also warned that a combination of the end of furlough, increases in covid cases and the rise of unemployment would have a further impact on poverty in Wales.
“Is this not reason enough for the Welsh Government to demand power over welfare so we can shield our citizens from the brunt of Tory cruelty?” she asked.
“This latest callous move from the Tories in Westminster will push thousands of people into deeper poverty.
“Ending the £20 top up to Universal Credit payments – coupled with increasing Coronavirus cases and self-isolation, the ending of the furlough scheme, and rising unemployment – will see countless Welsh families struggling to make ends meet.
“If Labour is truly keen to support and protect the most vulnerable in our society, then they must push for devolution of the administration of welfare in the first half of this Senedd term. We can’t afford to wait for a more progressive Government to become available at the other end of the M4 —we can change people’s lives and we must protect people right here, right now.”
Before May’s election, Mark Drakeford told the BBC’s Walescast that he didn’t “share the enthusiasm” of many others in his party for devolving welfare to Wales.
“I think that sometimes surprises me, and it quite definitely sometimes surprises them, because those are two things which I think are part of the glue that holds the United Kingdom together and, on the whole, it’s much in Wales’ interest that we have that machinery that allows for redistribution in that socialist way,” he said.
“Obviously [it is] not used in that way by the current government, but [by] a Labour government with its hands on those levers that allow you to use macroeconomic policy and the social security system for the benefit of those people who need it most. I still think those are things better discharged at a UK level.”
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