Jonathan Edwards MP has warned that action, rather than words, had to be taken by the Labour Welsh Government to address chronic, and worsening, levels of poverty in Wales.
The report, produced by the independent think tank The Bevan Foundation, noted that 23% of people in Wales live in poverty, including a rise of pensioners living in poverty to 17%, or 100,000 pensioners. While nationally, child poverty levels have seemingly fallen, 29% of children in Wales remain in a situation of poverty after housing costs.
Areas of Carmarthenshire remain worse off than the national average, with post-industrial towns such as Ammanford suffering from child poverty levels as high as 35% according to the latest figures from the End Child Poverty organisation.
Plaid Cymru’s Jonathan Edwards MP said:
“I am deeply saddened and disappointed by this report. Poverty, in any form, is unacceptable and is a real issue in our most disadvantaged communities, serving as a constraining anchor on the hopes and ambitions of young and old alike.
“I am shocked to see this report note that nearly a third of our children live in poverty in Wales. Pensioners, who have paid their dues are now cast into poverty in ever-greater numbers, rising from 14% to 17% in the last three years.
“Questions need to be answered by both the Labour Welsh government and the UK Government on why the system is failing so badly to help the most vulnerable. The UK is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet two hundred miles from Westminster and London, a third of children in Ammanford live in poverty. Economic and social security powers must now be fully devolved from Westminster so we can meet the needs of Welsh communities.
“The question of inequity, or the lack of justice and fairness in our society in terms of standards of living and opportunity must be addressed. This report illustrates a truly dire state of affairs in Wales, and we cannot and should not accept the continued status quo that will see the most vulnerable in our society continue in a state of impoverishment.”