Nearly a quarter of households in Wales live in poverty
20th September 2013
That’s what a new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says. It also states that, once housing costs are accounted for, around a third of children in Wales come from households that live in poverty. These shocking figures should be enough to bury for good the myth put about that the Labour Welsh Government somehow protects the people of Wales and Welsh workers from the worst effects of the cuts.
Of course, Welsh Labour will point to the fact that much of the increase in poverty is down to attacks on benefits, such as disability benefits and the hated bedroom tax. It’s true that cuts to the safety net that benefits partially provide are a big part of the rise in poverty but so are the driving down of wages and conditions at work through casualisation and cuts in pay. The Con-Dems’ claims that they are ‘making work pay’ is exploded by this report, which points out that the majority of adults in the near 700,000 people in poverty in Wales, are working.
Many of the ‘working poor’ in Wales work in the public sector and their predicament reflects the willingness of the Welsh Government and councils, including Welsh Labour ones, to pass on Con-Dem cuts. Included in their number would be the thousands of workers in the two biggest Labour-led councils, Cardiff and Swansea on zero hours or other extremely casualised contracts. Sometimes Labour seems to demonstrate excessive zeal for driving down workers terms and conditions – ask the workers being told to sign new contracts and take a 10% cut to their take home pay or face the sack by Swansea’s Labour council!
If this is the best ‘protection’ that the Welsh Labour Government can provide for working class people in Wales then Wales urgently needs working class, socialist political representatives. This is why Socialist Party Wales is working to build the forces of the Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition and calling on trade unionists and anti-cuts campaigners to join us in standing against all the parties of cuts. We need representatives that will fight Con-Dem cuts not pass them on. We need representatives who will put forward socialist policies that can make the poverty the JRF report describes history.