Tackling injustices and inequalities is not a distraction or a luxury. Rather it is an opportunity to rebuild in a way which encourages a deep structural transition to an economy that better values the work we know is essential to sustaining us. We would address the crises in healthcare, social, economic and ecological policies.
We would press for the devolution of welfare to develop a more compassionate system that protects Wales’ citizens from the worst effects of the policies of successive UK governments.
Rather than merely treating the symptoms of inequality, a Plaid Cymru government would seek to address their root cause. We will seek the devolution of tax and welfare powers necessary for this purpose. In the meantime, we will begin to create the building blocks of a Welsh Wellbeing State.
We would make the abolition of poverty and inequality a core national mission. We would task a Poverty and Inequality Commission with developing a plan to achieve our goal, in the shortest term possible, of a Wales in which no one will be destitute; less than one in ten of the population are in poverty at any one time; and nobody is in poverty for more than two years.
We would pass a new Child Poverty Act that will set out a plan to eradicate child poverty, setting out a target of reducing the number of children experiencing relative poverty to 10 per cent by 2030.
Plaid Cymru’s Child Payment Policy
Poverty costs Wales £3.6bn of public spending each year. The latest statistics tell us that one in three children in Wales – around 200,000 are living in poverty. In March 2018, the Equality and Human Rights Commission reported that the UK Government’s tax and welfare reforms would push an extra 50,000 children in Wales into poverty by 2020-21. This is unacceptable.
That is why a Plaid Cymru Government will endeavour to make targeted payments of initially £10 a week per child, rising to £35 per week over our first term, to families living below the poverty line.
To implement this policy we will seek the devolution of welfare powers from Westminster, and immediately seek UK Government agreement that the Department of Work and Pensions would not claw back any payments.
If UK Government cooperation on these matters is not forthcoming we will urgently seek alternative ways to address child poverty within the budget we have allocated.
Poverty and poor economic performance go hand-in-hand. That is why in Government Plaid Cymru will make tackling poverty and building the economy the combined responsibility of one Minister and one department.
The principal aim of our economic policy will be raising standards of living. Raising the level of real average wages in particular will be a key policy goal. One reason why 30 per cent of Welsh children are in poverty (the figure for the population overall is 23 per cent) – is because their parents are more likely to be out of work or in low paid work due to childcare responsibilities. Two-thirds of children living in poverty have one or both parents at work. Enabling women in particular to access better paid, less precarious employment will reduce the number of children in poverty.