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Cost of Living Support

Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 5 July 2023

10. What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of cost of living support for households in Wales. (905725)

14. What recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of cost of living support for households in Wales. (905729)

This Government are supporting households across Wales with the cost of living. Between October 2022 and the end of June 2023, a typical household would have seen half their energy bills paid for by the Government.

According to a study on hunger in Wales, around 753,000 Welsh people faced hunger in mid-2022—that is more than double the population of Cardiff—with Welsh Trussell Trust foodbanks experiencing an 85% increase in the number of emergency food parcels that they distributed compared with five years previously. What specific conversations has the Secretary of State had with Cabinet colleagues and the retail sector on the high costs of food in supermarkets?

Obviously, all Cabinet colleagues are absolutely committed to making sure that we put our resources towards the least well off. That is why pensions, benefits and the minimum wage have all gone up in line with inflation, and it is why there have been extra payments of £900 to people on benefits, £300 to pensioners, and £150 to households with disabilities. But at least the people of Wales are not in the same position as those of Scotland, where 1.4 million people are being hit with extra taxes.

Actually, families who need it most in Scotland are seeing the game-changing £25 a week Scottish child payment. When will the Secretary of State devolve powers over social security to Senedd Cymru, so that it can also make decisions like that to protect the people of Wales from the Tories’ cost of living crisis?

I can assure the hon. Member that all members of the Cabinet are committed to resolving the cost of living problems that have come about as a result of the covid pandemic and the war in Ukraine. That is why our first priority is to halve inflation, as well as growing the economy, reducing debt, stopping illegal immigration into this country and—we are responsible for this in England—reducing hospital waiting lists.