Alison Alexander, the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Montgomeryshire has said the latest figures on child poverty in Powys show the need for a radical plan to give the region’s children a better start in life.
Figures released last week by the Department for Work and Pensions showed that approximately 20 per cent of children in Powys were growing up in poverty in the year 2019/20, an estimated six year high. The data was recorded before the pandemic began, with numbers possibly being pushed higher by lost incomes over the period of COVID-19.
Alison said: “These numbers are a national scandal and show that both the UK, Welsh and local Governments need to be doing much more and working closely together to tackle the problem.
“We need to make hardship history. We need a living wage nation, better public transport, more support for those with caring responsibilities – a whole raft of measures that will have a huge effect over time.
“But straight away we can focus our efforts on areas in which the children affected by poverty stand to gain the most immediately.
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are campaigning for free high-quality childcare from age 9 months, expanded before and after school care, and childcare during holidays. So many families have told me about the burden extortionate childcare costs are placing on their family budgets or that going back to work simply doesn’t pay.
“The policy not only removes a huge burden on family finances, but allows more women to go back to work, have a greater choice in the work they are doing and frees up money to be spent in the local economy.”
“We also want to see Kirsty Williams’ work on free school meals continued throughout all holidays, making sure children aren’t suffering from holiday hunger. We must promote cross party cooperation on tackling this, as well as cross administration from Cardiff Bay to Westminster to Powys Council.”