NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Sep 30th, 2013.
The UK Government’s policies are undermining the financial security of the most vulnerable people in Wales, Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister Jeff Cuthbert will warn council leaders at an event in Llandrindod Wells later today.
Speaking at an event organised by the Welsh Local Government Association, he will outline the Welsh Government’s concerns about how the changes to welfare will have profound implications across the country.
He will say:
“At a time when finances are already tight, the UK Government’s Welfare Reforms are hitting those who may already be struggling financially. These changes are having huge economic and social implications. Given this, it is essential that people have the right skills to manage their money.
“This is a critical time for housing and welfare services in Wales. Just as pressures are increasing on our housing stock, UK Government policies are undermining the financial security of our most vulnerable citizens. Economic opportunities are being compromised by the UK Government’s austerity strategy, and the people most affected by unemployment are also having their benefits reduced.
“We are determined to do everything we can to protect vulnerable people from homelessness, although our resources are constrained by UK Government fiscal policy.
“The challenge before us is a stark one from which we cannot hide. Yet we must recognise this as an opportunity which we have a responsibility to take. Now more than ever before we must be clear thinking and bold in making sure we are doing as much as we can to prevent homelessness and other social problems and focusing our resources on that goal.”
A key part of the Welsh Government’s approach is supporting accessible and comprehensive financial services for all communities in Wales, including improving access to affordable loans and savings, improving access to debt advice and helping people with financial literacy.
The Minister will highlight the importance of financial advice services to communities:
“The prevailing economic climate in the UK has had a direct impact on the ability of Welsh families to manage their household incomes. Debt and money advice services are therefore becoming a more essential factor in the ongoing battle against over indebtedness and financial exclusion in Wales.”
Many financial services are now accessed online.
That is why through the Communities 2.0 initiative, the Welsh Government is helping to increase access to computers and the internet because developing people’s digital skills is essential in the modern world.
The Welsh Government is implementing a Tackling Poverty Action Plan that targets resources across departments to prevent poverty and alleviate its impact on people’s lives.
This includes a commitment to creating 5,000 training and employment opportunities for households in Wales where no-one has a paid job, action to help improve the educational attainment of children from low income families and a new target to reduce the number of young people who are not earning or learning and ambitions to improve people’s health.