An inquiry into tackling poverty in Wales has been scathing of the Welsh Labour Government’s "ineffective" efforts in getting to grips with the issue.
The Welsh Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee noted in their report that they are "deeply concerned by the Welsh Government’s lack of progress in reducing poverty, particularly given its long-term commitment and investment in the issue."
Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Social Justice Minister and a member of the Committee, said:
"This report makes damning reading for Labour Ministers. Despite years of focus and investment in tackling poverty in Wales, poverty rates here have barely changed since the new millennium began. In contrast, areas like the north-east of England have seen declines in poverty levels.
"Labour’s approach to dealing with poverty seems to amount to throwing money at its symptoms, rather than investing in tackling the root causes. Labour Ministers also seem to know very little about the people they’re trying to bring out of poverty, meaning policy makers are having to work in the dark instead of developing really effective policy based on evidence.
"Perhaps the most troubling point is Labour’s complete lack of an economic strategy. Just this week we’ve seen our unemployment figures continue to stagnate and fall behind the rest of the UK for this very reason. Until we see some real economic leadership from Labour Ministers we’re going to keep going round in circles.
"Labour Ministers need to be far more creative in tackling the root causes of poverty. Making Flying Start available to people based on need instead of postcode would be an easy step, but one which could improve the life chances of hundreds of children living below the breadline.
"Welsh Liberal Democrats have a clear record and plenty of ideas to tackle poverty in all its forms. Labour have had over 15 years to get to grips with the challenges facing our nation, yet still they’re failing to pull their socks up."