Shameful Child Poverty Figures Highlight the Need for Power Over Leavers

Early on in my political life as a committed socialist I quickly came to the conclusion that the constitutional advancement and social justice agendas were intrinsically linked. In the face of a right wing political consensus in Westminster which is in the pockets of the economic establishment – those who hope of an equal, just and prosperous Wales will find little support from the Westminster elite who are far more concerned with preserving the status of their city paymasters.

Today’s figures by Save the Children indicating that 96,000 children in Wales are now living in severe poverty provides a sobering statistic on the same day that the UK economic recession ‘officially’ came to an end. We know from previous recessions that the human cost continues to accelerate after the return to economic growth. As the ever astute Sean O Neil, Policy Director at Children in Wales points out in the Western Mail today – this recession has affected a new group of people who area finding themselves out of work for the first time and finding it difficult to get back to work. The child poverty figures are likely to worsen considerably in the short to medium term. The Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan is right to highlight that the fact that these figures have been released at the same time that some city bankers are already raking in £1m+ bonuses shows how skewed in favour of the super rich UK Government policy has become.

We are not looking at a V or U shaped recession and the likely direction of UK Government policy after the Westminster Election with all parties signed up to public sector cuts is likely to lead to a double dip downturn as the floorboards beneath the economy are removed. In public sector economies such as ours the effects of UK Government policy are likely to be particularly acute with the associated social consequences.

Which leads me to Labour Unionist MPs. Their position is inherently incoherent. In the face of a Tory Government at Westminster you would think that anybody interested in social justice would not only want the Welsh Government to be able to pass laws without a Westminster veto, but to assume power over the key poverty leavers which enable redistribution of wealth. Namely fiscal autonomy and responsibility over the benefits system.

The reality of the matter is that the opposition of Labour Unionists to the growth and development of Welsh democracy and sovereignty has little to do with some great ambition to create a British state of the proletariat, but more to do with their own narrow self interest. After all more powers for Wales in terms of policy fields will mean the need for less MPs. As for me, if elected, I’ll be going to Westminster on a political kamikaze mission to make sure that the Welsh Government has the tools at its disposal to get on with the job.

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