Leader column: Cost of Living Crisis

Although I hope we have now seen the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, I'm afraid to say there is another crisis looming on the horizon.

In April, households across Wales will see their incomes being stretched that much further by soaring energy bills, increased National Insurance costs and higher council tax bills. Some people have been quoted energy bill rises of £200 a month - that's extra money that many families simply don't have to hand.

That comes on top of rising food prices eating into weekly budgets but the scale of the rise in energy bills means many families will face a real dilemma of how to heat their homes in the coming months.

Four in 10 families in Wales already live below the poverty line and this price hike is going to make matters so much worse. It's a damning indictment of the unequal society in which we currently live.

Plaid Cymru has called for an emergency social summit to pool ideas on how to tackle the twin crises of surging debt and the rise in the cost of living.

Many of the key economic levers remain at Westminster but there are measures Wales could do independently to respond, such as capping social housing rent rises and bringing forward targets for abolishing fuel poverty.

When we had the banking crisis in 2007-8, an economic summit was held. Today we need a similar coming together to tackle what will be the challenge of 2022. We can't allow the rapid rise in the cost of living to overtake Covid as the biggest crisis we face over the coming year. We must combat the danger of plunging many more into poverty and mental ill-health.

Wales has a wealth of energy production - we currently export half the electricity we produce. Despite this, we end up paying higher bills for our energy than other parts of the UK.

The coming cost of living crisis demands urgent answers, but begs far larger questions about how we ensure we have a society where people are unable to heat their own homes without breaking the bank.

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  • Marc Jones
    published this page in News 2022-01-18 09:19:24 +0000

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