Tackling child poverty in Wales very difficult with Tories ‘cutting the legs from us’ – Health minister

Reducing child poverty in Wales will be very difficult if the Conservative government keeps cutting public spending, a Welsh Government minister has said.

Health and social services minister Eluned Morgan (pictured) accused Boris Johnson’s Government of “cutting the legs from us at every opportunity”.

The Senedd’s Children, Young People and Education Committee heard 31% of children in Wales were living in poverty and that childhood obesity was linked to deprivation.

“We know that Universal Credit is just about to be cut – £20 a week,” the minister told the committee.

“That is going to really hurt a lot of children in Wales, in particular constituencies where there’s huge levels of poverty.

“We’re seeing an increase in fuel and energy prices, and we’re seeing the Tory cost-of-living crisis really start to bite already, and it’s going to get worse.

“This is really difficult for us while the Tories are in power in Westminster, making those kinds of cuts.

“I do think the cuts that are being introduced by the Tory government are absolutely unacceptable.

“We can go as far as we can but if we’re fighting against the Tory government that is cutting the legs from us at every opportunity, that’s going to be difficult for us to deliver on.”

Ms Morgan spoke out after committee member Buffy Williams asked what the Welsh Government was doing to reduce childhood poverty and obesity.

“Let’s be clear these are absolutely unacceptable levels for a Labour government, and we are absolutely committed to addressing the issue of child poverty in Wales,” Ms Morgan said.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that 20% of our children go to school obese or overweight by the age of five and we need to do something about that.

“There is a correlation between poverty and those rates, and we need to break it.

“One of the key things that I’m determined to get more responsibility to health boards to really understand that this is part of their responsibility as well.

“This is not something for other people to do and it will make a difference to what they’re able to do in the future in terms of healthcare.”

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