Plaid Cymru warn of triple threat as Welsh families face winter of debt and poverty as bills rise and Universal Credit top-up is cut

Plaid Cymru have challenged both the UK and Welsh Government to protect the most vulnerable ahead of a winter of hardship

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for social justice and equalities Sioned Williams MS said the rise in household bills and the fall in household income coupled with the end of the Job Retention Scheme, and the cut to the Universal Credit uplift would create a ‘perfect storm’ and would push “thousands” of families into further poverty and debt.

Ms Williams’ call comes after Citizens Advice also warned that families face a "perfect storm" this autumn, as energy bills rise while Universal Credit payments fall.

Last Friday, regulator Ofgem said energy bills for 15 million households will increase by at least £139 to a record high from October due to a rise in wholesale prices.

Ms Williams called on the Conservative UK Government to permanently retain the Universal Credit uplift.

The Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd also challenged the Labour Welsh Government to use the powers at their disposal to “shield” citizens from the worst of Conservative policy – beginning with demanding power over welfare administration.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Equalities, Sioned Williams MS said,

“Household bills are rising. Incomes are falling. Furlough is ending. This, coupled with the Tories’ disastrous decision to cut the £20 top up to universal credit payments, will mean thousands of Welsh families are pushed even further into poverty and debt.

“It’s a perfect storm and one that the Tories could help mitigate by permanently retaining the Universal Credit uplift which has been so vital to so many families during the last few months of hardship and economic uncertainty. So, rather than pulling the rug out from under people mid-way through the year, a permanent retention of the £20 top up would secure the UK safety net and support consumer spending in Wales, aiding the long-term economic recovery.

“And to the Labour Government in Cardiff, tell us what you will do to shield our citizens from Tory harm. We can’t wait for one Government at the other end of the M4 to grow a conscience. Scotland for example have control over 11 welfare benefits and the ability to create new social security benefits in devolved policy areas. Use the powers at your disposal now to support the most vulnerable in our society – beginning with demanding control over the way benefits and welfare are handled to better protect Wales’ citizens from the worst effects of cruel Tory policies.