- March 17, 2014
- Posted by: Carwyn Jones AM
- Category: Archive, Gazette Column
Walking through one of our supermarkets last Sunday I noticed the foodbank in its usual place at the entrance to the store. As the people of Bridgend are generous, the box was full to overflowing. There’s no doubt in my mind that people want to help those in need, and the amount of food that had been donated showed that.
Isn’t it incredible though that we, in one of the world’ richest countries, have a situation where some of our fellow citizens can only feed themselves and their families by relying on the generosity of others? Isn’t it shameful that we have seen this situation emerge in the last few years? Isn’t it appalling that people have been turning down the chance to receive pasta and rice at no cost because they can’t afford the heat to boil water? This is Bridgend in the 21st century.
All this has been made worse by the policies being pursued in London. Of course, Wales has its own Government in Cardiff and because of what we’ve done, unemployment in Wales in lower that England. Youth unemployment is much lower than England. Welsh exports have increased dramatically and we have attracted twice as much investment this year including Pinewood Studios with its promise of two thousand jobs. We’ve even turned the airport around with a 10% increase in passengers compared to last year.
There’s limit to what we can do though, and it’s the Government in London that has the tools to ease the burden on those worst off. Instead of reducing tax on the highest paid, why not help those who work hard for low wages by giving them tax credits. Instead of allowing bankers who almost destroyed the world’s economies to get more bonuses why not help hard working families by removing the dreadful bedroom tax? I now see people caring for disabled children who are being made to pay the bedroom tax because it’s claimed that have one bedroom too many!
As the economy recovers it will be essential to ensure that everyone shares in that recovery not just a few. Only the UK government can ensure this.
Then those foodbanks might become a thing of the past.