Wales’ Finance Minister slams UK Government over cost-of-living crisis – ‘they need to change their approach’
Wales’ Finance Minister has strongly criticised the UK Government over their lack of support for those suffering as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and their lack of financial support for the Welsh Government.
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said that the extra support was being provided despite “no additional funding” by the Treasury, which she called a “disappointing decision by the UK Government”.
She claimed that despite this the Welsh Government had gone “above and beyond” in providing support for households.
“We believe the action that we take will make a real difference, but people still face challenges,” she said. “Those major levels lie in the hands of the UK Government and we don’t have them here in Wales.
“We need to see a change of approach from Westminster. We need to see them step up to support people. Let’s share some of that wealth with people who are struggling to pay their bills.
“We will continue to make the case to the UK Government that they change their approach.”
The First Minister had claimed last week that there was no new money as a result of the UK Government’s plan for an energy costs rebate in England.
This claim was denied by the UK Government, saying that Wales will receive £180m under the Barnett Formula.
Rebecca Evans said that the £180m increase had been offset by a £189m reduction in how much the Treasury had said they would receive in January elsewhere.
“As a result, our position was worse after announcing the council tax reduction scheme,” she said.
The additional support announced by the Welsh Government includes a £150 cost-of-living payment to be paid in the coming weeks and an extra £200 for low-income households through the Winter Fuel Payment next winter.
The £150 cost-of-living payment will be provided to all households who live in properties in council tax bands A-D, as well as recipients of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme in all bands.
Plaid Cymru welcomed the move but said that it should be targeted at the poorest households.
“The news of the additional funding to support people with the cost of living crisis is welcome,” Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Social Justice and Equalities, said.
It is especially good to see that more money will be provided for more people in need through the Discretionary Assistance Fund and through the Winter Fuel Support Scheme, which Plaid Cymru has been calling for.
“However, the broad-brush approach of giving £150 to all households in Council Tax Bands A-D is not the best way to ensure those who are in the most need, those who will be facing the choice between heating and eating, receive the most help.”
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