SHADOW Minister for the Economy and Tackling Poverty Helen Mary Jones MS has said that a Plaid Cymru Government would lift every child out of absolute poverty by the end of the next Senedd term
200,000 children in Wales are currently living in relative poverty – with 90,000 in absolute poverty.
Helen Mary Jones said that the number of people in poverty in Wales was “unacceptable”, and said urgent action was needed from the Welsh Government to tackle poverty rather than “sticking a plaster” over it.
Ms Jones also said that the number of children needing free schools meals is a symptom of the widespread and acute poverty in Wales, noting that the issue has become a “desperate problem” that should take priority in the Welsh Government’s work to move forward during and after the current crisis.
She went on to say that although the Welsh Government has repeatedly mentioned that Wales was the first UK nation to extend free school meals into the summer holidays, with England making a u-turn and following suit, children should never be at risk of not eating if they are unable to attend school in the first place, and that far stronger interventions are crucial.
During the 2019 General Election, Plaid Cymru advocated a policy of a Welsh Child Payment of £35 per week for children in low-income families.<
Helen Mary Jones said,
“There are currently 200,000 children in Wales living in poverty. 90,000 children are living in absolute poverty. That is nothing short of a national scandal.
“The Welsh Government absolutely needs to tackle the desperate problem that is widespread poverty in Wales head on, rather than using half measures and repeatedly sticking a plaster over the problem. I will never understand why the child poverty reduction targets were dropped.
“Take free school meals for example and the huge numbers of children currently receiving them. That isn’t a solution to poverty. It’s a symptom.
“Tackling poverty in Wales is certainly a substantial task, but as this pandemic has made clear, issuing direct payments to those who need it is more than possible, and can be done rather quickly. Eradicating poverty is possible – it just needs the political will to do it.
“When in government, Plaid Cymru will commit to lifting every child out of absolute poverty. No child should have to live in poverty in 21st century Wales, and ending this scandal is an absolute priority.”
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