THE Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price has said that the key priority for a Plaid Cymru government would be the provision of a £35 per week payment to poorer Welsh families and the eradication of child poverty.
The Plaid Cymru leader was speaking at CYCA in Llanelli as part of a visit to Carmarthenshire on Wednesday (Sep 9).
Mr Price was accompanied by Helen Mary Jones MS and Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn as he visited Burns Pet Foods in Kidwelly and the children and families project CYCA, before going on a walkabout in Llanelli town centre to speak to local business owners.
Commenting on his visit to CYCA Mr Price said:
“It is incredibly impressive hearing the stories of progression working with families in some of the most deprived communities in Wales. Instilling in the family a sense of confidence in realising their potential.
“If we could have a Tracy in every community that would be great but CYCA’s model is something that I think can and must be replicated in every part of Wales because we all gain in by helping people realise their potential.
“The eradication of child poverty has to be the key priorities for our government, The reason for that apart from the moral case is that it will pay back an incredible benefit to society as a whole. If you eradicate poverty at a young age those children will be able to attain better qualifications, be more able to gain employment with a decent wage and less likely to endure mental health problems later in life.
“We want to introduce a Welsh child payment to start the work of lifting tens of thousands of children out of poverty. We are aiming at £35 per week for each child. We also want to work with organisations like CYCA to provide the broader support families need.
“I was born in a council house and was on free school meals for a time. I was fortunate to be brought up in a generation when there was investment in public services. We can’t afford to have a single child in Wales living in poverty. We all lose from child poverty and we all gain from eradicating it. We need to invest now early and we will see the gains over the years.”
The Plaid Cymru leader said that he was confident that Plaid Cymru could have a chance at forming the next Welsh Government and that he detected a desire in Wales to try something different. “The Labour government have set some laudable aims.” He said. He continued: “They have not been able to deliver on those. Twenty years is more than enough time to try one path.”
Helen Mary Jones MS said: “When something works like Tracy and her team here at CYCA are doing with families that face big challenges, we need to move to the point where the public sector pays for this work. It is great to hear Tracy talking about social prescribing instead of a child with mental health issues being medicated or waiting 18 months to go to a mental health service Tracy and her team can step in and work not just with the child but with the family.”
Helen Mary Jones said that she was making a commitment that by the end of her first term as minister for the economy there will be no child left in absolute poverty.
She reiterated the commitment to a Wales child payment to poorer families in Wales.
Speaking about the work of CYCA the MS said: “I am amazingly impressed by these two women who we heard from who changed their lives. The work of organisations like CYCA needs to be mainstreamed. They shouldn’t have to depend on charity for the work that they do. A Plaid government would look at everything we are spending and asking if it contributes to the wellbeing of our country. We have the beginnings in the Future Generations Wellbeing Act.”
Dafydd Llywelyn was also impressed by the organisation and said: “I have been a supporter of intervention ideology with young people at an early stage. Coming here to see what CYCA have got to offer is fantastic and I am looking forward to working with CYCA in the future. Over the last two years we have put domestic violence as the single most important priority for the force and we have seen a doubling of reporting of incidents. We have added additional resources to ensure professional assessments to ensure we safeguard those involved, which can include children. Since 2010 the last decade of austerity has been difficult on communities. We have had fantastic successes in the Glanymor and Tyisha wards with our Seaside Kicks project. We are looking to roll that out to other areas. There are green shoots to recovery but it requires a lot of partnership working.”