FMQs: 7th February 2012

Mark Drakeford: Pa amcangyfrif y mae’r Prif Weinidog wedi’i wneud o effaith rhaglen diwygio lles Llywodraeth y DU ar dlodi plant yng Nghymru

[What estimate has the First Minister made of the impact on child poverty in Wales of the UK Government’s programme of welfare reform]

The First Minister: A ministerial task and finish group is currently undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the cumulative impact of the welfare reforms, including the impact on child poverty. We use the results of this assessment to target our efforts to help mitigate the negative implications of welfare reform.

Mark Drakeford: Did you agree with bishops in the House of Lords when they said that, whatever different views there might be about welfare reform, the one thing we should all be agreed on is that the impact of those cuts should not be carried by children? If you agree with that, will you condemn the decision of the coalition Government to restore a cut that was defeated in the House of Lords and which will result in 100,000 disabled children in the United Kingdom losing £1,300 each a year?

The First Minister: We know that all the analysis shows that those who are worst off will suffer the most as a result of these changes. That is not an example of us all being in it together, which is the mantra that we have heard. What is it that the UK Government has against children? The Member has eloquently outlined the effect on child poverty. The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ analysis suggests that the reforms will increase child poverty by about 100,000, absolute child poverty by about 200,000 and absolute poverty among working-age adults without dependent children by about 100,000 as well. On top of that, it wants to charge single parents to use the services of the Child Support Agency. It is a Government agency designed to ensure that parents meet their financial obligations, and now it wants to put a financial barrier in the way of those who can afford it the least. Such behaviour is not something that we as a Government can condone. We know that it will lead to further poverty in Wales.