Following the publication of Welsh Government’s budget, Barnardo’s Cymru has issued concerns around the sustainability of vital services in Wales in the face of difficult budgetary decisions that will have to be made at all levels of government in Wales.
Sarah Crawley, Barnardo’s Director for Wales and the South West, said:
“We know that Welsh Government has faced a set of unenviable decisions, many of which are out of their hands, including rising inflation and the wider economic outlook.
“That said, the consequences of this budget could be severe for children, young people and families.
“We already see marked levels of poverty in Wales – we have the highest proportion of children living in poverty of all UK nations – and the cost-of-living crisis is entrenching conditions that are simply untenable for thousands of families. Barnardo’s Cymru has a long history of supporting families, many of whom are in poverty or struggling to make ends meet, but the severity of the problem and the number of families that are in crisis is far beyond anything we have witnessed in recent times.
“We welcome Welsh Government’s investment in the Discretionary Assistance Fund, Pupil Development Grant, and homelessness prevention measures, which will be invaluable for many. We would urge Welsh Government to go a step further and take positive steps to maximise household income through adopting and accelerating benefits maximisation proposals, as well as looking at how we can speed-up the rollout of initiatives such as free school meals and free childcare for two-year-olds.
“The knock-on impact of difficult budgetary decisions on local authorities gives serious cause for concern. Local authorities will be forced to make incredibly difficult decisions about the future of vital services that support children, young people and their families. Now more than ever, children’s social care services are a lifeline, and we must take all possible steps to protect them as much as possible.”
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