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Bevan Foundation urges First Minister to invest in solving poverty

December 4th 2020

The Bevan Foundation is urging the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, to spend 10% of the Welsh Government’s unallocated budget on solutions to poverty

Family on sofa

The Bevan Foundation has today, written a letter to the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James and the Chair of the Equality, Communities and Local Government Committee John Griffiths, urging them to invest in solutions to poverty. The letter follows the publication of new research by the Wales Fiscal Analysis team at Cardiff University which highlights that the Welsh Government around £829m unallocated in its budget which must be spent before the end of this financial year i.e. by March 2021.

The suggestions in the Bevan Foundation’s letter are based on 3 principles:

  • They are actions that can be taken quickly
  • They are actions that can be funded this financial year
  • They are actions that will have a lasting effect on poverty.

In total the Bevan Foundation have identified 5 actions the Welsh Government could take before the end of the financial year. The estimated costs of all policies combined come to just under £80m. That is less than 10% of the unallocated resource the Welsh Government has at its disposal.

The five policies are:

  1. Extended the self-isolation payment for low income workers to cover parents of children have been sent home from school and told to isolate but who have not been contacted by track and trace themselves. Estimated cost – £39m
  2. Expand the Welsh Government’s support for digitally excluded learners so that all children in receipt of Free School Meals are provided with free laptops and data. Estimated cost – £29m.
  3. Write off any loans already made under the Tenants Save Loan Scheme and provide all future support on a grant basis. Estimated cost – £8m
  4. Establish a EMA hardship fund to support young people to stay in further education. Estimated cost – £5m
  5. Ensure income maximisation advice is provided nationally rather than through small scale local pilots.

To read more about our ideas make sure you read our blog.

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