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A poverty truth commission is to be set up in Swansea.

It will hear from people living at the sharp end to help policymakers fully understand the issues they face.

The Swansea Poverty Truth Commission will take around 18 months to complete and involve public, private and third sectors.

Swansea’s cabinet approved the next steps to set up the body at a meeting on June 20.

Several spoke in turn to voice their support.

Councillor Alyson Pugh described the commission as “an exciting initiative” which had wholehearted support from key groups in the city.
Deputy leader Clive Lloyd, who attended a poverty commission session in Leeds, said they were led by politicians but in no way talked down to those who shared their experiences. He said tackling poverty and providing jobs were key objectives of the Labour administration. “We still have a long way to go as a council in making small changes which have a huge impact in lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

Cllr Andrea Lewis said the value of listening to people who experienced poverty should not be underestimated and she was keen to hear how housing was a factor in their lives.

A start-up group will be established in Swansea to identify potential commissioners. A high-profile launch will then take place then sessions will be held and priorities established.

The commission, which had been recommended by a council scrutiny group, is expected to cost around £70,000. Third-party grants and contributions will be expected.

Council leader Rob Stewart said the aim was to adapt policies to better help people in need, having heard directly from them.
He said he felt a significant cause of poverty was the result of actions of the UK Government. “The major driver of poverty is the current UK Government austerity policy,” he said.

Theresa May claimed last October that austerity was over and Conservatives point to historically high levels of employment throughout the UK.

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