This week Plaid Cymru lead a debate in the Senedd on Universal Credit.
l strongly opposes the UK Government's proposal to scrap the £20 uplift in universal credit. This proposed cut would effect 65,230 families living in Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Vale of Glamorgan, amounting to a total loss of £67.4 million.
Speaking during the debate, I have called on the Welsh Government to pressure the UK Government to reverse this decision and do everything within its devolved powers to mitigate the impact of poverty in South Wales Central, and across the rest of the Country.
This region and its constituencies have suffered economically and socially for decades. During a time of the pandemic, Rhondda Cynon Taf suffered the most deaths per capita than any other area of the United Kingdom.
The £20-a-week universal credit increase has been a lifeline for the people of South Wales Central; it has allowed more families to afford to live, afford to feed their children, buy clothes, pay for electricity, light, heating, necessary broadband connectivity, and reduced some of the worst economic impacts of the pandemic.
Had Universal Credit grown in line with GDP per capita, it would be £40 a week higher, and yet the Tory UK government propose to scrap even the £20 uplift. Welsh Government must now pursue the devolution of welfare in order to tackle poverty in Wales, and in the meantime, maintain flexibility around the discretionary assistance fund to keep a lifeline available for those who most need it.