Welsh Families 15 days away from Breadline

1st August 2013

The average Welsh family is just 15 days away from a minimum existence on the breadline. So says a report published by Legal & General this week.

The 15 days refers to the length of time that a household would be able to exist on its savings (based on £1220 savings per household - much more than most people I know) should they lose their usual income source, should the main breadwinner be made redundant for example.

The DWP target is for 90% of Job Seekers Allowance claims to be processed within 16 days. So for up to 10% of those made redundant there is a gap between exhausting any savings and receiving benefits.

This is a gap that must have the growing number of pay day loan companies licking their lips. They will be salivating even more at the prospect, of George Osbourne's 'wonga week', due to be implemented in 2015. This is the proposal that all new claimants will have to wait a week before being able to claim any benefits.

Of course, Government cuts are decimating the civil service and making it harder and harder to achieve claim-processing targets, increasing the number of claimants forced to find cash for necessities through borrowing.
Little wonder the number of pay-day loan companies is on the rise. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) estimated the number of pay day loans issued in the UK in 2011-12 as between 7.8 million and 8.2 million for a combined sum of between £2 billion and £2.2billion.

Earlier this year the Welsh Assembly debated the growing problem of pay day loans. Solutions put forward by Assembly Members (AMs) included supporting credit unions, putting restrictions on interest rates and limiting advertising for the pay day loan companies.

Credit unions which all AMs and many unions support, still charge up to 26% interest, not in the same league as the likes of wonga, with their 5,000%+ rates, admittedly but still not a long term solution either for those made unemployed or for the majority of working households who struggle to make their wages last to the end of the month.

What working class communities need from the Welsh Government is a stop to the haemorrhaging of jobs and the continued decline in real pay.

We demand they..

  • Refuse to pass on Con-Dem cuts in finances for public services and benefits administered in Wales. Set a needs budget to meet the needs of the people of Wales.
  • Take into common ownership, under workers' control, firms shutting sites and making workers redundant. If the Welsh Government can take over Cardiff Wales Airport then they can do the same for firms sacking workers in Wales. 

We demand also nationalisation of the banks and finance houses whose greed and irresponsibility was the trigger for the current crisis in the chaotic capitalist system. Why should working class people pay for their crisis?

Socialist Party Wales members have no illusions that any of the parties currently represented in the Assembly, wedded as they are to market policies, have the will or policies to be able to reverse the decline in jobs, waves and living standards that has brought working class people in Wales to the position where they are a fortnight away from financial disaster. That is why we are preparing now to play a leading part in standing record numbers of 'no-cuts', Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition Wales candidates in the Assembly elections in 2016 and before that, the general election.

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