Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney, Dawn Bowden, has welcomed a new £51m package of support to help families facing the cost-of-living crisis to pay their bills this winter.
The funding, which has been released from the Welsh Government’s reserves, will support lower income households, providing immediate support for people facing rising living costs this winter.
The first phase of the Household Support Fund will target the rising costs associated with heating and eating by providing families with extra help to pay their energy bills over the winter and giving extra funding to foodbanks and community food schemes.
The new fund comes as the Conservative UK Government continues to refuse to reverse its £20 cut to Universal Credit which has impacted tens of thousands of families in Wales and amid warnings from the Bank of England that inflation will rise to 5% by the spring, which will push prices even higher.
Welcoming the new support fund, Dawn Bowden MS said:
“Thanks to poor economic choices and mismanagement by the UK Conservative Government, families are facing a severe cost-of-living crisis. Rising prices and the cruel £20 cut which is being imposed on 8,658 households in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney is making families choose between food or heating.
“The Conservatives have once again failed families. In response, the Welsh Labour Government is stepping up and doing everything within its power and budget to support families through what is going to be a difficult winter.
“I welcome the support which has been announced to help with heating and eating pressures and I call again on the Conservatives to reverse their cut to Universal Credit and to take meaningful action to address the cost of living crisis which people across Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney are facing.”
Welsh Labour’s Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt MS, has outlined the first measures that will be funded.
More than £38m will be made available through a Winter Fuel Support Scheme for households in receipt of working age means-tested benefits.
More than £1.1m has also been provided to support and bolster foodbanks, community food partnerships and community hubs. This will help them address food poverty, food insecurity and provide a wider range of services to help people and families maximise their income, including the extension of the successful Big Bocs Bwyd project to a further 25 schools.
Further announcements about the Household Support Fund will be made in the coming weeks.