Welsh households set to lose £459 a year

Plaid Cymru Treasury spokesperson, Jonathan Edwards MP, has responded to new figures by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showing that every Welsh household in Wales is set to lose around £459 each year as a result of the UK Government's tax and benefits changes.

Mr Edwards warned that the cuts of the last Parliament would be dwarfed by those set to be outlined in the Chancellor's upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday, and that a radical economic rethink was required.

He quoted the research showing that the benefits changes will affect poorer working-age households the most, particularly those with children, and that low-income working households will lose around the same amount as non-working low-income households - a fact that makes a mockery of the Tories' claim to be on the side of working people.

Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards MP said:

"These worrying new figures show that the Chancellor's austerity experiment has been a complete failure.

"By pursuing tax and benefits changes that will reduce the incomes of Welsh households by £459 a year on average - an overall loss of around £600million - this Tory Government threatens to drive thousands of working families into hardship.

"What is most worrying is that poorer working age-households with children are set to be affected more than anyone. Child poverty is already a serious problem in Wales - the Chancellor's plans threaten to consign a whole generation to low wages and little opportunity.

"Plaid Cymru is particularly concerned by the proposals to cut working tax credits which offer a lifeline to nearly 250,000 households in Wales and 384,000 children.

"The IFS is warning that low-income working households will lose around the same amount as non-working low-income households. This makes a mockery of the Tories' claims to be on the side of working families.

"Plaid Cymru is committed to bringing down the welfare bill, but this must not be done on the backs of the poor. Rent caps - as those enforced in Germany and New York - would regulate costs and stop rogue landlords from exploiting tenants.

"We also want to see a genuine Living Wage - a bolder move than the Chancellor's cynical rebranding in the form of the new National Living Wage. This would secure a pay rise for an extra 250,000 workers in Wales, benefit the public purse to the tune of £1.5bn a year, and make sure that people have more money to spend in their local economies.

"Ultimately, there is a serious question here for the Labour party in Wales - if they are so opposed to the policies of the Tory Government in Westminster, why are they also opposed to the devolution of significant fiscal and social protection powers to Wales?"


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