Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price has called for a £35 per week uplift to the child benefit to help families struggling financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Plaid Cymru Leader said many would see a loss of income over the coming months due to the “economic fallout” of the Coronavirus pandemic and would struggle to pay “essential bills” and childcare in light of the closure of schools.
Mr Price said that a temporary additional uplift of £35 per week to all who already receive child benefit payments would give “valuable financial support for families” already facing “financially difficult times”.
Mr Price explained this could be “easily administered” on a weekly basis through the existing framework in the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
During the 2019 General Election, Plaid Cymru pledged a £35 a week payment for every child in low-income families to lift thousands of children in Wales out of poverty.
Mr Price said this policy could be available to all who receive child benefits.
The Plaid Cymru Leader added that the UK Government had a duty to give “a cast-iron guarantee” to “financially vulnerable families” that they wouldn’t lose income or struggle to feed their children because of the economic impact of the pandemic.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said: “Many people will see a loss of income over the coming months due to the economic fallout of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Paying essential bills such as energy, water and rent will soon prove a significant challenge for many households and with schools closing down working parents and guardians unable to send their children to elderly relatives will struggle to find and pay for childcare.
“A temporary additional £35 per week to all who already receive child benefit payments would provide valuable financial support for families who will already be facing financially difficult times.”
He continued: “It could be easily administered on a weekly basis through the existing Department of Work and Pensions framework
“During the 2019 General Election we called for a £35 per week for children in low income families to lift thousands out of poverty and support hard pressed families.
“However, this policy would extend to all who receive child benefits to help them during this difficult time.
“The policy is there – it just needs the political will to make it work and the UK Government has a duty to give a cast-iron guarantee to financially vulnerable families that they won’t lose income, go bankrupt, or struggle to pay bills or feed their children because of the Coronavirus.”
The call comes after poverty campaigners called for a temporary £10 boost to Child Benefit per child, warning that low-income families are facing unprecentented financial pressures as Covid-19 hits the pockets of poor and vulnerable households.
Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group Alison Garnham said: “We are in very uncertain times and the impact of the covid-19 coronavirus will place additional financial pressures on families who are already struggling to get by.
“Children’s needs will not be any less and, if schools close, many struggling families will lose the benefit of free school meals for their children.
“Many families will already have made a claim for universal credit and be waiting for their first payment to come through. Struggle may quickly turn to real hardship for many.
“The policy solution should not be to turn to the voluntary sector to boost food distribution projects, or to create new ones.
“As well as the loss of their dignity, families being forced into food banks are likely to increase the risk of infection from covid-19 and further its transmission in already vulnerable communities.
“Child Poverty Action Group is calling on the government to match the support it is providing to small business and boost the income of struggling families with children by increasing child benefit by £10 per week for the duration of the pandemic response.
“This is the best way to get money to families with children quickly as the infrastructure already exists and families will get the help they need directly to their bank accounts.”
“This would cost £127m per week, a substantial additional support package for the nation’s children, but less that the £2 billion available for cash grants for small business.
“Meeting the needs of families is no less important.”