Big impact in Senedd, February 2023

Bevan Foundation Image of Senedd Interior, provided by the Senedd Comission
NewsUncategorizedMarch 1st, 2023

The Bevan Foundation’s insights have informed debate in the Senedd across many aspects of its work, from plenary to committee reports. 

Education Maintenance Allowance

After being neglected for many years, the Bevan Foundation is pleased that attention is now being given to the urgent need to increase Education Maintenance Allowance.  Three Senedd Committees – the Finance Committee, Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee and the Children and Young People’s Committee all urged the Welsh Government to increase the value of the allowance and uplift thresholds in their reports on the draft Welsh budget.  This is a change that the Bevan Foundation has been advocating for some time

The focus on EMA was continued with a member debate on 15th February focused on Education Maintenance Allowance. The motion welcomed the retention of EMA but noted that its value was unchanged for many years. It then called for an inflation linked uplift to the allowance and a review of the thresholds.  Most recently, the Bevan Foundation has recommended an uplift of 11% even if the historic value cannot be restored. 

In moving the motion, Luke Fletcher MS, said:

We have fantastic work done by the Bevan Foundation.

In the debate that followed, Mike Hedges MS drew on the latest Bevan Foundation article in making the case for increasing the value of EMA and the thresholds, and Sioned Williams MS referred to the Bevan Foundation’s call for reform.  The motion was supported by several other members as well. 

We were delighted that the motion was passed, and that the Minister for Education will return to the Senedd with plans to increase its value and review thresholds shortly. 

Educational standards

In plenary on 8th February, the Minister for Education referred to his speech given to the Bevan Foundation in summer 2022 when he answered a question about raising educational standards in the constituency of Rhianon Passmore MS. 

Tax devolution

The Bevan Foundation welcomed the Plaid Cyrmu debate on tax devolution on 8th February.  The motion as proposed reflected our call for the Welsh Government to seek powers to vary tax bands, although a subsequent amendment to the motion removed this point. 

In the debate, Delyth Jewell MS also cited the Bevan Foundation’s view that council tax is regressive and unaffordable for low income households. 

Welsh Benefits System

Support for a Welsh Benefits System, which would bring together means-tested devolved grants and allowances into a streamlined system, continued in February.  The Senedd Finance Committee’s report on the draft Welsh budget reiterated the Bevan Foundation’s argument for a more effective system, a request that the Committee Chair, Peredur Owen Griffiths raised when the report was debated in plenary on 7th February. 

Local Housing Allowance

The Bevan Foundation is pleased that the Senedd’s Local Government and Housing Committee report on the draft Welsh budget has echoed our calls for Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to be uplifted.  The Minister for Social Justice also set out the Welsh Government’s representations to the UK Government to raise the level of LHA in her statement on the Ukraine humanitarian response on 14th February. 




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