Welsh Labour government fails to tackle child poverty

Mark Evans, Swansea and West Wales Socialist Party

The Senedd’s (Welsh Parliament) Equality and Social Justice Committee report ‘Calling time on child poverty; how Wales can do better’ highlighted what most working-class people already knew in Wales; the Welsh Labour government is failing to tackle child poverty.

The committee, taking evidence from experts, was told that the Welsh government lacked ambition, was averse to setting targets and blames the UK Tory government when there is plenty they can do.

Wales now has 28% of children living in relative poverty. That is a scandalous figure when you consider Labour has been in government in Wales for over 20 years. Labour in Wales, as would be the case with Starmer’s Labour in power in Westminster, works within the confines dictated by the capitalist system. The consequences for working-class people of the failure of the Welsh Labour government to oppose and mobilise against cuts is apparent in the above figures. We pay for their lack of fight.

The Welsh Labour government’s ‘style over substance’ approach was exposed by the Bevan Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation charities which gave evidence to the committee. They told the committee that the Welsh government strategy risks being “warm words” and “bells and whistles” with no real plan. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children told the committee that there should be “more focus on what Welsh government can do, rather than focus on what they cannot do.”

What could they do?

The Socialist Party agrees that the Welsh Labour government should not just oppose Tory cuts in words but in deeds. It could set a no-cuts, needs-led budget that among other things tackles poverty, fully funds public services and massively expands NHS and council services. It should immediately implement a £15-an-hour minimum wage, nationalise Tata Steel, transport, utilities and the top companies, and organise a mass campaign around this with the trade unions and working-class people in Wales.

The Welsh Labour government and Starmer’s Labour have no solution to the growing levels of poverty and the crisis of capitalism. We cannot wait for ‘jam tomorrow’ that Starmer is offering, i.e. wait for the British economy to start growing again before public services get more funding. British capitalism cannot deliver for working-class people and that it is very evident in Wales with the levels of poverty.

To provide an alternative to the Tories and Labour, who both represent the interests of the bosses not the masses, we need a new mass workers’ party implementing socialist polices.