Plaid MP warns of new 'culture of cuts'
Plaid Cymru's social protection spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP, has warned that the Prime Minister's new 'culture of cuts' signals a disaster for thousands of unemployed and working people who face having their tax credits and other payments slashed or frozen.
Responding to the Prime Minister's speech on the Westminster government's proposed £12bn of welfare cuts, Mr Williams condemned the austerity programme as 'self-defeating' and that soaring rents and poorly-paid, zero-hour contract jobs would increase, rather than decrease, the social protection bill.
He added that rent controls and a living wage were just some of the measures proposed by Plaid Cymru as means of bringing down welfare costs without punishing not only the most vulnerable in society but also thousands of working people whose low wages must be topped up by tax credits just so they can get by.
Hywel Williams MP said:
"The Prime Minister wrongly blames a culture of complacency while creating a new culture of cuts.
"Unless the Tory view that austerity is inevitable is challenged, we are in real danger of falling for the lie that no alternative is possible.
"With the Labour Party eerily quiet in their condemnation, it is up to Plaid Cymru and others to act as real opposition to this government's plans to punish the working poor and the most vulnerable in society.
"We have long advocated progressive measures to bring down the welfare bill, including the introduction of rent controls and a living wage.
"By increasing the minimum wage by 2020 to the level Plaid Cymru proposes we could bring about £2.1bn additional income through tax, and save around £1.1bn in in-work benefits.
"We must also think of the legacy we leave the next generation. While the Westminster government intends to scrap housing benefit for all young people under 25 - regardless of their circumstances, Plaid Cymru is committed to a Youth Jobs Guarantee Fund.
"This would ensure that every young person under the age of 25 in Wales was in meaningful education, employment or training.
"All the evidence points towards the austerity agenda being purely ideological. The Prime Minister's new culture of cuts will see society becoming morally and financially poorer, and Plaid Cymru MPs intend to challenge it every step of the way."
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