The cost of living continues to rise for each and every one of us – fuel, food, energy prices, are all on the increase. Whilst this is putting pressure on everyone, it places the biggest burden on people least able to bear it.
At time where the UK Government should be following the Welsh Government’s lead and using the powers it has available to make real differences to people’s lives, the Chancellor is simply offering loans to help people struggling with their household bills. This is a sticking plaster, not a sustainable solution that rises to the challenges and tackles the causes.
In the last week I’ve been contacted by constituents who are concerned that they may have to repay the £200 Winter Fuel Support payment from the Welsh Government – this is not the case. In response to the cost of living crisis which is impacting every household across the country, the Welsh Government announced a support grant for those on means tested benefits, such as Universal Credit.
With pressures growing and more individuals and families being pushed deeper into fuel poverty, the Welsh Government announced that the grant would be doubled to £200. Flintshire County Council are accepting applications for those eligible until the end of this month, with more information about who is eligible on their website.
Please reassure your friends and family that here in Wales the Winter Fuel Support is a grant and does not need to be paid back, as it has to be in England.
A number of utility companies are also offering support to those who are struggling to pay their bills, with Welsh Water recently announcing further financial support to support additional customers who may be struggling to pay their water bills. A range of options such as discounted tariffs and payment plans are available for customers from both Welsh Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy.
If you or a loved one are concerned about your finances and your ability to pay your bills, please get in touch and I can signpost you to the support which is available.
One of the best ways in which we can ensure that people are able to afford the very basics in life, is to provide stable, skilled and well-paid employment. This week we celebrate the role that apprenticeships have in helping individuals to develop their skills and find employment in lots of different sectors – from healthcare and hairdressing, to education and engineering.
We have seen how apprenticeships can work in different settings, with Ysgol Trefynnon and Ysgol Maes Y Felin winning an award after supporting 20 young people into apprenticeships in different roles within their schools. Again, our corner of the country leading the way.
To mark National Apprenticeship Week the Welsh Government has announced an additional £366 million of funding to create 125,000 all age apprenticeships across Wales over the remainder of this government. This funding means investing in people – regardless of their age, gender, or qualifications – to help them into the world of work, in a job of their choosing. It also means that employers are able to develop and grow their own workforces, helping to motivate and diversify them to reflect our communities here in Wales.
If you have an issue you’d like to speak to me about, please get in touch and I will do my best to help.
You can drop me a line by emailing Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch by using the contact form on my website: www.hannahblythyn.cymru/contact.