Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, Steffan Lewis, has today criticised the Labour Welsh Government's "abject failure" to tackle poverty as a damning new report by independent think tank The Bevan Foundation shows that 23% of people in Wales live below the breadline.
Steffan Lewis said that the Welsh Government's failure to address the root causes of poverty was compounded by the fact that Westminster still holds control over the vast majority of economic and social security powers which impact Wales, and made the case for a Welsh approach to growing the economy and tackling deprivation.
Steffan Lewis AM for South Wales East said:
"This new report by the Bevan Foundation casts a damning judgement on the Labour Welsh Government's abject failure to tackle poverty in Wales.
"While it is welcome to see a small drop in child poverty from 33% to 29% between 2012 and 2016, this still means that nearly one in three children in Wales are living below the breadline. It is also concerning to see a rise in the number of elderly people living in poverty - an increase from 14% to 17% in the last three years.
"As the report directly notes, it is clear that poverty has fallen off the current Labour Welsh Government's agenda with their lack of will threatening to consign an entire generation to poor prospects and few opportunities.
"This is compounded by that fact that Westminster still holds control over the vast majority of economic and social security powers which impact Wales, meaning that our most vulnerable people are exposed to policies designed to benefit the London City square mile at everyone else's expense.
"What is needed now is a Welsh approach to the social and economic challenges facing our nation. This includes the transfer of control over major social security powers from Westminster to Wales, alongside a comprehensive package of economic levers that would allow us to address our low-wage economy - the driving force behind in-work poverty.
"We cannot allow those who require the most support to pay the highest price for the failures of Labour at one end of the M4 and the Tories at the other end."